9-(Dicyanovinyl) julolidine (DCVJ) is a fluorescent probe, which binds to a unique site on the tubulin dimer and exhibits different properties that are dependent upon its oligomeric state (Kung & Reed, 1989). DCVJ binds to tubulin, the tubulin-colchicine complex, and the tubulin-ruthenium red complex equally well, but binds tighter to the ANS-tubulin complex than to tubulin alone. The energy transfer studies indicate a small amount of energy transfer with colchicine, but a significant energy transfer with ANS. It was shown previously that ruthenium red binds near the C-terminal tail region of the alpha-subunit. Ruthenium red causes major quenching of fluorescence of the tubulin-DCVJ complex, suggesting proximity of binding sites. The derived distances are consistent with DCVJ binding near the alpha beta interface, but on the opposite face of the colchicine binding site. Location of the binding site correlates with the observed effect of a different polymerized state of tubulin on the DCVJ spectroscopic properties. The effect of dimer-dimer association on DCVJ binding, at high protein concentrations (Kung & Reed, 1989), suggests that such an association may occur through lateral contacts of the elongated tubulin dimer, at least in a significant fraction of the cases. Transmission of ANS-induced conformational change to the DCVJ binding site, which is near important dimer-dimer contact sites, makes it possible that such conformational changes may be responsible for polymerization inhibition by anilino-naphthalene sulfonates.
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