Key Event Title
|Level of Biological Organization|
Key Event Components
Key Event Overview
AOPs Including This Key Event
|AOP Name||Role of event in AOP|
|Tubulin binding and aneuploidy||KeyEvent|
|Homo sapiens||Homo sapiens||Moderate||NCBI|
Key Event Description
Microtubules are polar structures, and in each filament, subunits are added to one extremity (the plus end) and removed from the other one (the minus end) [reviewed in Marchetti et al. 2016]. Microtubules are dynamic structures characterized by features such as dynamic instability and treadmilling. Dynamic instability defines the ability of microtubules to grow or shorten [Mitchison & Kirschner, 1984; Wade and Hyman, 1997]; the process is based on a multitude of events regulating the assembly/disassembly of the subunits. Treadmilling is the process by which, in the presence of an active loss of subunits (at the minus end) and acquisition of subunits (at the plus end), a steady-state is maintained, and the length of the microtubule remains unchanged [Waterman-Sloter and Salmon, 1997]. Colchicine interferes with microtubule dynamics at lower concentrations while it induces a net depolymerization at higher concentrations which is a consequence of the inability of further extending the microtubules [Stanton et al., 2011]. This dual action is in common with other spindle poisons (e.g. vinca derivatives) [Panda et al., 1996]. All microtubule-binding agents alter microtubule dynamics, engaging cell cycle surveillance mechanisms that arrest cell division in metaphase. This mitotic stall may then lead to various irremediable effects such as mitotic catastrophe, apoptosis or aneuploidy [Kops et al., 2005]. Recently, a mitotic surveillance pathway was postulated that is activated by prolonged mitosis and centrosome loss and that arrests cell growth [Lambrus and Holland, 2017]. It is currently unclear whether a similar mechanism is active in meiosis as well.
How It Is Measured or Detected
Microtubule depolymerization is generally assessed by an acellular tubulin polymerization assay [Salmon et al., 1984; Wilson et al., 1984; Wallin and Hartley-Asp, 1993; Ibanez et al., 2003; Liu et al., 2010]. A reaction mixture containing tubulin and a test agent, after preincubation, is chilled on ice. GTP is added, and turbidity development is followed at 350 nm in a temperature-controlled recording spectrophotometer. The extent of the reaction is then measured and the area under the curve is used to determine the concentration that inhibited tubulin polymerization by 50% (IC50) [Hamel, 2003]. A concentration of 2.5 μM of colchicine is needed to inhibit microtubule polymerization by 50% [Zavala et al., 1980] and the ability of new chemicals to induce this effect is benchmarked against this value (e.g., combretastatin A-4 IC50 is 1.2 μM [Pettit et al., 1998]).
Domain of Applicability
Depolymerization of microtubules has been measured in many somatic cell types, in addition to frog and mouse eggs, and in human cells, including eggs, in culture [Salmon et al. 1984; Wilson et al., 1984; Ibanez et al., 2003; Liu et al., 2010]. Quantitative cell-based assays for assessing microtubule activities of compounds are achieved by measuring the indirect effects on cell cycle which result from a disruption of microtubule networks. These methods utilize either fluorescent microscopy or cell cycle analysis. In fluorescent microscopic studies, either the α- or β-tubulin can be labeled directly with a tubulin antibody-conjugated fluorescent probe, or indirectly via a secondary antibody [Zhou et al., 2009]. Tubulin stabilizers and destabilizers cause cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase [Bhalla, 2003], and therefore measurement of the percentage of cells arrested in G2/M phase is used as a surrogate endpoint for microtubule activity.
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Ibanez E, Albertini DF, Overstrom EW. 2003. Demecolcine-induced oocyte enucleation for somatic cell cloning: coordination between cell-cycle egress, kinetics of cortical cytoskeletal interactions, and second polar body extrusion. Biol Reprod 68:1249-1258.
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Wilson L, Miller HP, Pfeffer TA, Sullivan KF, Detrich HW, 3rd. 1984. Colchicine-binding activity distinguishes sea urchin egg and outer doublet tubulins. J Cell Biol 99:37-41.
Zavala F, Guenard D, Robin JP, Brown E. 1980. Structure--antitubulin activity relationship in steganacin congeners and analogues. Inhibition of tubulin polymerization in vitro by (+/-)-isodeoxypodophyllotoxin. J Med Chem 23:546-549.
Zhou YB, Feng X, Wang LN, Du JQ, Zhou YY, Yu HP, Zang Y, Li YJ, Li J. 2009. LGH00031, a novel ortho-quinonoid inhibitor of cell division cycle 25B, inhibits human cancer cells via ROS generation. Acta Pharmacol Sin 30;1359-1368.