Atomic structures of tubulin and FtsZ.
The recently published atomic structures of tubulin and FtsZ are a research milestone. The N-terminal GTP-binding domains of tubulin and FtsZ are virtually identical in structure, as expected from the substantial sequence identity. Sequence identity is absent from the C-terminal domains, but they also have virtually identical structures. A surprising finding is that the N-terminal GTP-binding domain is structurally homologous to that of Ras and other G proteins, despite the completely different GTP-binding sequence motifs. This article discusses these findings and the molecular mechanisms that can now be addressed with the atomic structures.
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