The dynamic tyrosination-detyrosination cycle of α-tubulin regulates microtubule functions. Perturbation of this cycle impairs mitosis, neural physiology, and cardiomyocyte contraction. The carboxypeptidases vasohibins 1 and 2 (VASH1 and VASH2), in complex with the small vasohibin-binding protein (SVBP), mediate α-tubulin detyrosination. These enzymes detyrosinate microtubules more efficiently than soluble αβ-tubulin heterodimers. The structural basis for this substrate preference is not understood. Using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), we have determined the structure of human VASH1-SVBP bound to microtubules. The acidic C-terminal tail of α-tubulin binds to a positively charged groove near the active site of VASH1. VASH1 forms multiple additional contacts with the globular domain of α-tubulin, including contacts with a second α-tubulin in an adjacent protofilament. Simultaneous engagement of two protofilaments by VASH1 can only occur within the microtubule lattice, but not with free αβ heterodimers. These lattice-specific interactions enable preferential detyrosination of microtubules by VASH1.
Keywords: E. coli; cryo-electron microscopy; detyrosination; microtubule; molecular biophysics; posttranslational modification; structural biology; vasohibin.
© 2020, Li et al.