Laulimalide and paclitaxel: A comparison of their effects on tubulin assembly and their synergistic action when present simultaneously

Eric J. Gapud, Ruoli Bai, Arun K. Ghosh, Ernest Hamel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Previous work has shown that laulimalide, a sponge-derived natural product, resembles paclitaxel in enhancing tubulin assembly and in its effects on cellular microtubules. The two compounds, however, seem to have distinct binding sites on tubulin polymer. Nearly equimolar amounts of tubulin, laulimalide, and paclitaxel are recovered from microtubules formed with both drugs. In the present study, we searched for differences between laulimalide and paclitaxel in their interactions with tubulin polymer. Laulimalide was compared with paclitaxel and epothilone A, a natural product that competes with paclitaxel in binding to microtubules, for assembly properties at different temperatures and for effects of GTP and microtubule-associated proteins on assembly. Although minor differences were observed among the three drugs, their overall effects were highly similar, except that aberrant assembly products were observed more frequently with paclitaxel and that the polymers formed with laulimalide and epothilone A were more stable at 0°C. The most dramatic difference observed between laulimalide and epothilone A was that only laulimalide was able to enhance assembly synergistically with paclitaxel, as would be predicted if the two drugs bound at different sites in polymer. Because stoichiometric amounts of laulimalide and paclitaxel can cause extensive tubulin assembly, maximum synergy was observed at lower temperatures under reaction conditions in which each drug alone is relatively inactive. Laulimalide-induced assembly, like paclitaxel-induced assembly, was inhibited by drugs that inhibit tubulin assembly by binding at either the colchicine- or vinblastine-binding site. When radiolabeled GTP is present in a reaction mixture with either laulimalide or paclitaxel, nucleotide hydrolysis occurs with incorporation of radiolabeled GDP into polymer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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