TitleSequence diversity of tubulin isotypes in regulation of the mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channel.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsRostovtseva TK, Gurnev PA, Hoogerheide DP, Rovini A, Sirajuddin M, Bezrukov SM
JournalJ Biol Chem
Date Published2018 May 18

The microtubule protein tubulin is a heterodimer comprising α/β subunits, in which each subunit features multiple isotypes in vertebrates. For example, seven α-tubulin and eight β-tubulin isotypes in the human tubulin gene family vary mostly in the length and primary sequence of the disordered anionic C-terminal tails (CTTs). The biological reason for such sequence diversity remains a topic of vigorous enquiry. Here, we demonstrate that it may be a key feature of tubulin's role in regulation of the permeability of the mitochondrial outer membrane voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC). Using recombinant yeast α/β-tubulin constructs with α-CTTs, β-CTTs, or both from various human tubulin isotypes, we probed their interactions with VDAC reconstituted into planar lipid bilayers. A comparative study of the blockage kinetics revealed that either α-CTTs or β-CTTs block VDAC pore and that the efficiency of blockage by individual CTTs spans two orders of magnitude, depending on the CTT isotype. β-Tubulin constructs, notably β3, blocked VDAC most effectively. We quantitatively describe these experimental results using a physical model that accounts only for the number and distribution of charges in the CTT, and not for the interactions between specific residues on the CTT and VDAC pore. Based on these results, we speculate that the effectiveness of VDAC regulation by tubulin depends on the predominant tubulin isotype in a cell. Consequently, the fluxes of ATP/ADP through the channel could vary significantly depending on the isotype, thus suggesting an intriguing link between VDAC regulation and the diversity of tubulin isotypes present in vertebrates.

Alternate JournalJ. Biol. Chem.
PubMed ID29777059