New insights into tau–microtubules interaction revealed by isothermal titration calorimetry


  • Tsvetkov Philipp
  • Makarov Alexander
  • Malesinski Soazig
  • Peyrot Vincent
  • Devred François


Microtubule dynamic instability is tightly regulated by coordinated action of stabilizing and destabilizing microtubule associated proteins. Among the stabilizing proteins, tau plays a pivotal role in both physiological and pathological processes. Nevertheless, the detailed mechanism of tau-tubulin interaction is still subject to controversy. In this report, we studied for the first time tau binding to tubulin by a direct thermodynamic method in the absence of any tubulin polymerization cofactors that could influence this process. Isothermal titration calorimetry enabled us to evidence two types of tau-tubulin binding modes: one corresponding to a high affinity binding site with a tau:tubulin stoichiometry of 0.2 and the other one to a low affinity binding site with a stoichiometry of 0.8. The same stoichiometries were obtained at all temperatures tested (10-37°C), indicating that the mechanism of interaction does not depend on the type of tubulin polymer triggered upon tau binding. These findings allowed us to get new insights into the topology of tau on microtubules.

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