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Chromosoma. 2010 Oct;119(5):527-40. doi: 10.1007/s00412-010-0276-7. Epub 2010 May 7.

Nucleolar targeting of coilin is regulated by its hypomethylation state.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED) and IFIMAV, University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain.


Coilin, a molecular marker for Cajal bodies (CBs), is a phosphoprotein that contains a cryptic nucleolar localization signal and multiple interacting domains, such as the RG-box. Post-translational symmetrical dimethylation of arginines on the coilin RG-box is required for the recruitment of the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein and splicing small ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) to CBs. Here, we analyze the role of the methylation state of coilin in the regulation of its localization to the nucleolus. We use the MCF7 MTAP(-/-) cell line, which lacks the gene encoding 5'-methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP). This is a key enzyme of the methionine salvage pathway. The reduction of the levels of coilin methylation causes disruption of the canonical CBs and coilin redistribution to nucleoplasmic microfoci and to the nucleolus. Intranucleolar coilin is unmethylated and appears restricted to the dense fibrillar component. Interestingly, intranucleolar coilin is not associated with SMN or snRNPs, and does not interfere with global transcriptional activity. Overexpression of wild-type MTAP reverts the intranucleolar localization of coilin and the disruption of CBs to the normal coilin phenotype. Our results suggest the existence of a dynamic flux of coilin between CBs, nucleoplasm and nucleolus, and indicate that coilin methylation plays a key role in this process.

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