Interaction of ustiloxin a with bovine brain tubulin

Richard F. Ludueña, Mary Carmen Roach, Veena Prasad, Mohua Banerjee, Yukiko Koiso, Yin Li, Shigeo Iwasaki

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Ustiloxin A is a modified peptide derived from false smut balls on rice panicles, caused by the fungus Ustilaginoidea virens; structurally, it resembles phomopsin A. Ustiloxin A is cytotoxic and is an inhibitor of microtubule assembly in vitro. Because of its resemblance to phomopsin A, we examined its interaction with tubulin and compared the results with those obtained with phomopsin A and dolastatin 10, both of which were found previously to have very similar effects. We determined that ustiloxin A inhibited the formation of a particular intra-chain cross-link in β-tubulin, as do vinblastine, maytansine, rhizoxin, phomopsin A, dolastatin 10, halichondrin B and homohalichondrin B; this is in contrast to colchicine and podophyllotoxin which do not inhibit formation of this cross-link. Ustiloxin A also inhibited the alkylation of tubulin by iodo[14C]acetamide, as do phomopsin A and dolastatin 10; vinblastine was almost as potent an inhibitor of alkylation as ustiloxin A, whereas maytansine, halichondrin B and homohalichondrin B have little or no effect. In addition, ustiloxin A inhibited exposure of hydrophobic areas on the surface of the tubulin molecule. In this respect, ustiloxin A was indistinguishable from phomopsin A but slightly more effective than dolastatin 10 and considerably more effective than vinblastine; this provides a strong contrast to maytansine, rhizoxin, and homohalichondrin B which have no effect on exposure of hydrophobic areas and to halichondrin B which enhances exposure. Lastly, ustiloxin A strongly stabilized the binding of [3H]colchicine to tubulin. The combination of ustiloxin A with colchicine stabilized tubulin with a half-life of over 8 days, comparable with results obtained with phomopsin A and colchicine. A comparison of the structures of ustiloxin A, phomopsin A and dolastatin 10 raised the possibility that the strong stabilization of the tubulin structure may require a short segment of hydrophobic amino acids such as the modified valine-isoleucine sequence present in all three compounds. The rest of the structure, specifically the large ring of ustiloxin A and phomopsin A, may serve to place this sequence in an appropriate conformation to interact with tubulin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1593-1599
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Apr 29 1994


  • colchicine
  • microtubule
  • protein cross-linking
  • tubulin
  • ustiloxin A
  • vinblastine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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