Microtubule protein preparations purified by cycles of assembly-disassembly contain the enzyme tubulinyltyrosine carboxypeptidase (TTCPase). Using these preparations, containing tubulinyl[14C]tyrosine, we studied the release of [14C]tyrosine from assembled and non-assembled tubulin under steady-state conditions. It was found that both states of aggregation were detyrosinated at similar rates by the action of the endogenous TTCPase. However, practically no release of [14C]tyrosine from the non-assembled tubulin pool was found when microtubules were previously eliminated from the incubation mixture. These results indicated that non-assembled tubulin requires to interact with microtubules to be detyrosinated. This interaction seems to occur through the incorporation of dimers into microtubules, since when the capability of tubulin to incorporate into microtubules was diminished by binding of colchicine a concomitant decrease in the rate of release of tyrosine was observed. When detyrosination was accelerated by increasing the concentration of TTCPase relative to the microtubule protein concentration, microtubules were found to be detyrosinated faster than was non-assembled tubulin. Using exogenous TTCPase in an incubation system in which the formation of microtubules was not allowed, tubulinyl[14C]tyrosine and tubulinyl[14C]tyrosine-colchicine complex were shown to have similar capabilities to act as substrates for this enzyme. Free colchicine was shown not to affect the activity of TTCPase.
- © 1985 London: The Biochemical Society