Real-time NMR study of three small GTPases reveals that fluorescent 2'(3')-O-(N-methylanthraniloyl)-tagged nucleotides alter hydrolysis and exchange kinetics

J Biol Chem. 2010 Feb 19;285(8):5132-6. doi: 10.1074/jbc.C109.064766. Epub 2009 Dec 14.


The Ras family of small GTPases control diverse signaling pathways through a conserved "switch" mechanism, which is turned on by binding of GTP and turned off by GTP hydrolysis to GDP. Full understanding of GTPase switch functions requires reliable, quantitative assays for nucleotide binding and hydrolysis. Fluorescently labeled guanine nucleotides, such as 2'(3')-O-(N-methylanthraniloyl) (mant)-substituted GTP and GDP analogs, have been widely used to investigate the molecular properties of small GTPases, including Ras and Rho. Using a recently developed NMR method, we show that the kinetics of nucleotide hydrolysis and exchange by three small GTPases, alone and in the presence of their cognate GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) and guanine nucleotide exchange factors, are affected by the presence of the fluorescent mant moiety. Intrinsic hydrolysis of mantGTP by Ras homolog enriched in brain (Rheb) is approximately 10 times faster than that of GTP, whereas it is 3.4 times slower with RhoA. On the other hand, the mant tag inhibits TSC2GAP-catalyzed GTP hydrolysis by Rheb but promotes p120 RasGAP-catalyzed GTP hydrolysis by H-Ras. Guanine nucleotide exchange factor-catalyzed nucleotide exchange for both H-Ras and RhoA was inhibited by mant-substituted nucleotides, and the degree of inhibition depends highly on the GTPase and whether the assay measures association of mantGTP with, or dissociation of mantGDP from the GTPase. These results indicate that the mant moiety has significant and unpredictable effects on GTPase reaction kinetics and underscore the importance of validating its use in each assay.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Guanosine Triphosphate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Guanosine Triphosphate / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Kinetics
  • Mice
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular / methods*
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • ortho-Aminobenzoates / chemistry*


  • 3'-O-(N-methylanthraniloyl)-2'-deoxyguanosine 5'-(imido)triphosphate
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • ortho-Aminobenzoates
  • Guanosine Triphosphate
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins