Taxol increases the rate and extent of microtubule assembly in vitro and stabilizes microtubules in vitro and in cells [Schiff, P. B., Fant, J., & Horwitz, S. B. (1979) Nature (London) 277,665-667; Schiff, P. B., & Horwitz, S. B. (1980) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 77, 1561-1565], We report herein that taxol has the ability to promote microtubule assembly in the absence of microtubule-associated proteins, rings, and added guanosine 5'-triphosphate (GTP) or organic buffer. The drug enhances additional microtubule assembly when added to microtubules at apparent steady state. This additional assembly can be attributed to both elongation of existing microtubules and spontaneous nucleation of new microtubules. Taxol-treated microtubules have depressed dissociation reactions as determined by dilution experiments. The drug does not inhibit the binding of GTP or the hydrolysis of GTP or guanosine 5'-diphosphate (GDP) in our microtubule protein preparations. Taxol does not competitively inhibit the binding of colchicine to tubulin.
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