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J Cell Sci. 2004 Feb 15;117(Pt 5):701-10.

Nuclear translocation of the Hsp70/Hsp90 organizing protein mSTI1 is regulated by cell cycle kinases.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa.


The co-chaperone murine stress-inducible protein 1 (mSTI1), an Hsp70/Hsp90 organizing protein (Hop) homologue, mediates the assembly of the Hsp70/Hsp90 chaperone heterocomplex. The mSTI1 protein can be phosphorylated in vitro by cell cycle kinases proximal to a putative nuclear localization signal (NLS), which substantiated a predicted casein kinase II (CKII)-cdc2 kinase-NLS (CcN) motif at position 180-239 and suggested that mSTI1 might move between the cytoplasm and the nucleus under certain cell cycle conditions. The mechanism responsible for the cellular localization of mSTI1 was probed using NIH3T3 fibroblasts to investigate the localization of endogenous mSTI1 and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-tagged mSTI1 mutants. Localization studies on cell lines stably expressing NLS(mSTI1)-EGFP and EGFP demonstrated that the NLS(mSTI1) was able to promote a nuclear localization of EGFP. The mSTI1 protein was exclusively cytoplasmic in most cells under normal conditions but was present in the nucleus of a subpopulation of cells and accumulated in the nucleus following inhibition of nuclear export (leptomycin B treatment). G1/S-phase arrest (using hydroxyurea) and inhibition of cdc2 kinase (using olomoucine) but not inhibition of casein kinase II (using 5,6-dichlorobenzimidazole riboside), increased the proportion of cells with endogenous mSTI1 nuclear staining. mSTI1-EGFP behaved identically to endogenous mSTI1. The functional importance of key residues was tested using modified mSTI1-EGFP proteins. Inactivation and phosphorylation mimicking of potential phosphorylation sites in mSTI1 altered the nuclear translocation. Mimicking of phosphorylation at the mSTI1 CKII phosphorylation site (S189E) promoted nuclear localization of mSTI1-EGFP. Mimicking phosphorylation at the cdc2 kinase phosphorylation site (T198E) promoted cytoplasmic localization of mSTI1-EGFP at the G1/S-phase transition,whereas removal of this site (T198A) promoted the nuclear localization of mSTI1-EGFP under the same conditions. These data provide the first evidence of nuclear import and export of a major Hsp70/Hsp90 co-chaperone and the regulation of this nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling by cell cycle status and cell cycle kinases.

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