Gatorbulin-1, a distinct cyclodepsipeptide chemotype, targets a seventh tubulin pharmacological site

Susan Matthew, Qi Yin Chen, Ranjala Ratnayake, Charles S. Fermaintt, Daniel Lucena-Agell, Francesca Bonato, Andrea E. Prota, Seok Ting Lim, Xiaomeng Wang, J. Fernando Díaz, April L. Risinger, Valerie J. Paul, Maria Ángela Oliva, Hendrik Luesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Tubulin-targeted chemotherapy has proven to be a successful and wide spectrum strategy against solid and liquid malignancies. Therefore, new ways to modulate this essential protein could lead to new antitumoral pharmacological approaches. Currently known tubulin agents bind to six distinct sites at α/β-tubulin either promoting microtubule stabilization or depolymerization. We have discovered a seventh binding site at the tubulin intradimer interface where a novel microtubule-destabilizing cyclodepsipeptide, termed gatorbulin-1 (GB1), binds. GB1 has a unique chemotype produced by a marine cyanobacterium. We have elucidated this dual, chemical and mechanistic, novelty through multidimensional characterization, starting with bioactivity-guided natural product isolation and multinuclei NMR-based structure determination, revealing the modified pentapeptide with a functionally critical hydroxamate group; and validation by total synthesis. We have investigated the pharmacology using isogenic cancer cell screening, cellular profiling, and complementary phenotypic assays, and unveiled the underlying molecular mechanism by in vitro biochemical studies and high-resolution structural determination of the α/β-tubulin−GB1 complex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021847118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 2 2021


  • Cyanobacteria
  • Marine natural product
  • Microtubules
  • Total synthesis
  • Tubulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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