- Zanic M, Widlund PO, Hyman AA, Howard J. Synergy between XMAP215 and EB1 increases microtubule growth rates to physiological levels. Nature cell biology. 2013 Jun;15(6). 688-93. PMID: 23666085 [PubMed].
In cells, a complex network of proteins regulates the dynamic growth of microtubules that is essential for division and migration. In vitro approaches with purified components have so far been unable to reconstitute fast microtubule growth observed in vivo . Here we show that two well-studied plus-end-binding proteins-end-tracking protein EB1 and microtubule polymerase XMAP215-act together to strongly promote microtubule growth to cellular rates. Unexpectedly, the combined effects of XMAP215 and EB1 are highly synergistic, with acceleration of growth well beyond the product of the individual effects of either protein. The synergistic growth promotion does not rely on any of the canonical EB1 interactions, suggesting an allosteric interaction through the microtubule end. This hypothesis is supported by the finding that taxol and XMAP215, which have non-overlapping binding sites on tubulin, also act synergistically on growth. The increase in growth rates is accompanied by a strong enhancement of microtubule catastrophe by EB1, thereby rendering the fast and dynamic microtubule behaviour typically observed in cells.