Interactions of 2-methoxyestradiol, an endogenous mammalian metabolite, with unpolymerized tubulin and with tubulin polymers

Biochemistry. 1996 Jan 30;35(4):1304-10. doi: 10.1021/bi951559s.


2-Methoxyestradiol (2ME) is an endogenous mammalian catabolite of estradiol with antimitotic activity. Although it is a competitive inhibitor of the binding of colchicine to tubulin, it has unusual effects on glutamate-induced tubulin polymerization. Polymer that was little changed in morphology assembled at a reduced rate and was relatively cold stable. We have now examined interactions of [4-3H]-2ME with unpolymerized tubulin and polymer. The [3H]2ME binds avidly to tubulin even on ice, and it is readily displaced by other colchicine site drugs. An association rate constant on ice of 1.9 x 10(2) M-1s-1 was obtained. Scatchard analysis indicated a single class of binding site and an association equilibrium constant of 5.7 x 10(5) M-1. These values lead to a calculated dissociation rate constant of 3.3 x 10(-4) s-1. In glutamate-induced tubulin assembly, a reaction that requires GTP and leads to the formation of sheets of parallel protofilaments, increasing amounts of [3H]2ME were incorporated into polymer, reaching near-stoichiometry with tubulin at 100 microM 2ME. Equivalent binding of [3H]2ME occurred when the drug was added to preformed polymer, but binding of [3H]2ME to polymer was not readily inhibited by colchicine site drugs. Significant amounts of [3H]2ME were also incorporated into microtubule polymer formed with microtubule-associated proteins, glycerol, or 4-morpholineethanesulfonate buffer, but the stoichiometry was substantially lower than that in the sheet polymer induced by either glutamate or 1,4-piperazineethanesulfonate buffer. The structural differences between the microtubule and sheet polymers leading to these differences in apparent affinity for 2ME are unknown, but presumably interaction of the estrogen metabolite with cellular microtubules has functional significance related to the antimitotic properties of the compound.

MeSH terms

  • 2-Methoxyestradiol
  • Binding Sites
  • Colchicine / pharmacology
  • Estradiol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Glutamates / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Podophyllotoxin / pharmacology
  • Polymers / metabolism
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology
  • Tubulin / drug effects
  • Tubulin / metabolism*


  • Glutamates
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Polymers
  • Stilbenes
  • Tubulin
  • Estradiol
  • 2-Methoxyestradiol
  • fosbretabulin
  • Podophyllotoxin
  • Colchicine