The antimitotic depsipeptide cryptophycin 1 (CP1) was compared to the antimitotic peptide dolastatin 10 (D10) as an antiproliferative agent and in its interactions with purified tubulin. The potent activity of CP1 as an inhibitor of cell growth was confirmed. The agent had an IC50 of 20 pm against L1210 murine leukemia cells versus 0.5 nm for D10. Both drugs were comparable as inhibitors of the glutamate-induced assembly of purified tubulin, with D10 being slightly more potent. CP1, like D10, was a noncompetitive inhibitor of the binding of [3H]vinblastine to tubulin (apparent Ki, 3.9 µm); and the depsipeptide was a competitive inhibitor of the binding of [3H]D10 to tubulin (apparent Ki, 2.1 µm). CP1 was less potent than D10 as an inhibitor of nucleotide exchange on tubulin, but the two drugs were equivalent in stabilizing the colchicine binding activity of tubulin. CP1, like D10, caused the formation of extensive structured aggregates of tubulin when present in stoichiometric amounts relative to the protein. Whereas at lower concentrations the drugs were equivalent in causing formation of small oligomers detected by gel permeation high-performance liquid chromatography, there were notable differences in the aggregation reactions induced by the two drugs. The electron micro-graphic appearance of the D10-induced aggregate differed substantially from that of the CP1-induced aggregate. With D10, but not CP1, aggregate morphology was greatly altered in the presence of microtubule-associated proteins. Finally, although CP1 caused the formation of massive aggregates, as did D10, there was little turbidity change with the depsipeptide as opposed to the peptide.

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