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J Biol Chem. 2007 Jan 5;282(1):647-56. Epub 2006 Nov 1.

Structure of human spindlin1. Tandem tudor-like domains for cell cycle regulation.

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Tsinghua-Institute of Biophysics Joint Research Group for Structural Biology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.


Spindlin1, a meiotic spindle-binding protein that is highly expressed in ovarian cancer cells, was first identified as a gene involved in gametogenesis. It appeared to be a target for cell cycle-dependent phosphorylation and was demonstrated to disturb the cell cycle. Here we report the crystal structure of human spindlin1 to 2.2A of resolution, representing the first three-dimensional structure from the spin/ssty (Y-linked spermiogenesis-specific transcript) gene family. The refined structure, containing three repeats of five/four anti-parallel beta-strands, exhibits a novel arrangement of tandem Tudor-like domains. Two phosphate ions, chelated by Thr-95 and other residues, appear to stabilize the long loop between domains I and II, which might mediate the cell cycle regulation activity of spindlin1. Flow cytometry experiments indicate that cells expressing spindlin1 display a different cell cycle distribution in mitosis, whereas those expressing a T95A mutant, which had a great decrease in phosphorous content, have little effect on the cell cycle. We further identified associations of spindlin1 with nucleic acid to provide a biochemical basis for its cell cycle regulation and other functions.

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