The effects of colchicine analogues on the reaction of tubulin with iodo[14C]acetamide and N,N'-ethylenebis(iodoacetamide)

M. C. Roach, S. Bane, R. F. Luduena

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30 Scopus citations


We have previously found that colchicine and podophyllotoxin inhibit the alkylation of tubulin by iodo[14C]acetamide and the formation of an intrachain cross-link in the β-tubulin subunit by N,N'-ethylenebis(iodoacetamide) (EBI). It was not clear whether these effects were due to conformational changes in tubulin induced by drugs or to direct steric blockage of the sulfhydryl groups involved. In an effort to characterize further these phenomena, we have examined the effects of single-ring and bicyclic analogues of colchicine on the reaction of tubulin with iodo[14C]acetamide and EBI. We have found that neither the A-ring analogues, 3,4,5-trimethoxybenzyl alcohol, 3,4,5-trimethoxybenzaldehyde, 2,3,4-trimethoxybenzaldehyde, and benzaldehyde, nor the C-ring analogues, tropolone and tropolone methyl ether, inhibited alkylation. In contrast, colchicine, podophyllotoxin, and nocodazole and the bicyclic analogues, 5-(2',3',4'-trimethoxyphenyl)-2-methoxytropone and combretastatin, inhibited tubulin alkylation. Since the presence of a bond joining the A and C rings seems to be the determining factor in the suppression of alkylation, it is likely that inhibition by colchicine of the reaction with iodo[14C]acetamide is due largely to a conformational change induced by colchicine. A different pattern was obtained when the effects on cross-link formation by EBI were examined. Here, all the A-ring analogues, the bicyclic analogues, and colchicine, podophyllotoxin, and nocodazole all inhibited formation of the cross-link, whereas the C-ring analogue tropolone methyl ether did not inhibit cross-link formation. Since compounds whose effect on alkylation is markedly different have the same effect on cross-link formation, it is possible that this effect is a steric one and that perhaps the A-ring of colchicine binds to tubulin very close to one of the sulfhydryls involved in the intrachain cross-link formed by EBI in β-tubulin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3015-3023
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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