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J Biol Chem. 2000 May 26;275(21):15969-76.

Polyglutamylation of nucleosome assembly proteins.

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  • 1Biochimie Cellulaire, Collège de France, 11 place Marcelin Berthelot, 75005 Paris, France.


Polyglutamylation is an original posttranslational modification, discovered on tubulin, consisting in side chains composed of several glutamyl units and leading to a very unusual protein structure. A monoclonal antibody directed against glutamylated tubulin (GT335) was found to react with other proteins present in HeLa cells. After immunopurification on a GT335 affinity column, two prominent proteins of approximately 50 kDa were observed. They were identified by microsequencing and mass spectrometry as NAP-1 and NAP-2, two members of the nucleosome assembly protein family that are implicated in the deposition of core histone complexes onto chromatin. Strikingly, NAP-1 and NAP-2 were found to be substrates of an ATP-dependent glutamylation enzyme co-purifying on the same column. We took advantage of this property to specifically label and purify the polyglutamylated peptides. NAP-1 and NAP-2 are modified in their C-terminal domain by the addition of up to 9 and 10 glutamyl units, respectively. Two putative glutamylation sites were localized for NAP-1 at Glu-356 and Glu-357 and, for NAP-2, at Glu-347 and Glu-348. These results demonstrate for the first time that proteins other than tubulin are polyglutamylated and open new perspectives for studying NAP function.

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