Vasohibins encode tubulin detyrosinating activity

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Science  15 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6369, pp. 1453-1456
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao5676

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Tubulin carboxypeptidase identity revealed

Enzymes of the α-tubulin detyrosination/tyrosination cycle create landmarks on microtubules that are essential for their multiple cellular functions and are altered in disease. Tubulin carboxypeptidases (TCPs) responsible for detyrosination have remained elusive for 40 years (see the Perspective by Akhmanova and Maiato). Aillaud et al. identified vasohibins as enzymes that perform the TCP function and found that their small interacting partner SBVP was essential for their activity. Vasohibin/SVBP complexes were involved in neuron polarization and brain cortex development. The authors also developed an inhibitor targeting this family of enzymes. Using a completely different strategy, Nieuwenhuis et al. also showed that vasohibins can remove the C-terminal tyrosine of α-tubulin.

Science, this issue p. 1448, p. 1453; see also p. 1381


Tubulin is subjected to a number of posttranslational modifications to generate heterogeneous microtubules. The modifications include removal and ligation of the C-terminal tyrosine of ⍺-tubulin. The enzymes responsible for detyrosination, an activity first observed 40 years ago, have remained elusive. We applied a genetic screen in haploid human cells to find regulators of tubulin detyrosination. We identified SVBP, a peptide that regulates the abundance of vasohibins (VASH1 and VASH2). Vasohibins, but not SVBP alone, increased detyrosination of ⍺-tubulin, and purified vasohibins removed the C-terminal tyrosine of ⍺-tubulin. We found that vasohibins play a cell type–dependent role in detyrosination, although cells also contain an additional detyrosinating activity. Thus, vasohibins, hitherto studied as secreted angiogenesis regulators, constitute a long-sought missing link in the tubulin tyrosination cycle.

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