Ectopic A-lattice seams destabilize microtubules

Miho Katsuki, Douglas R. Drummond, Robert A. Cross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Natural microtubules typically include one A-lattice seam within an otherwise helically symmetric B-lattice tube. It is currently unclear how A-lattice seams influence microtubule dynamic instability. Here we find that including extra A-lattice seams in GMPCPP microtubules, structural analogues of the GTP caps of dynamic microtubules, destabilizes them, enhancing their median shrinkage rate by >20-fold. Dynamic microtubules nucleated by seeds containing extra A-lattice seams have growth rates similar to microtubules nucleated by B-lattice seeds, yet have increased catastrophe frequencies at both ends. Furthermore, binding B-lattice GDP microtubules to a rigor kinesin surface stabilizes them against shrinkage, whereas microtubules with extra A-lattice seams are stabilized only slightly. Our data suggest that introducing extra A-lattice seams into dynamic microtubules destabilizes them by destabilizing their GTP caps. On this basis, we propose that the single A-lattice seam of natural B-lattice MTs may act as a trigger point, and potentially a regulation point, for catastrophe.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3094
JournalNature communications
Publication statusPublished - Jan 27 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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