Cytoplasmic linker-associated proteins (CLASPs) regulate microtubules in fundamental cellular processes. CLASPs stabilize dynamic microtubules by suppressing microtubule catastrophe and promoting rescue, the switch-like transitions between growth and shrinkage. How CLASPs specifically modulate microtubule transitions is not understood. Here, we investigate the effects of CLASPs on the pre-catastrophe intermediate state of microtubule dynamics, employing distinct microtubule substrates to mimic the intermediate state. Surprisingly, we find that CLASP1 promotes the depolymerization of stabilized microtubules in the presence of GTP, but not in the absence of nucleotide. This activity is also observed for CLASP2 family members and a minimal TOG2-domain construct. Conversely, we find that CLASP1 stabilizes unstable microtubules upon tubulin dilution in the presence of GTP. Strikingly, our results reveal that CLASP1 drives microtubule substrates with vastly different inherent stabilities into the same slowly depolymerizing state in a nucleotide-dependent manner. We interpret this state as the pre-catastrophe intermediate state. Therefore, we conclude that CLASPs suppress microtubule catastrophe by stabilizing the intermediate state between growth and shrinkage.

This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 International license, as described at
You do not currently have access to this content.