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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Jan;1813(1):27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2010.11.003. Epub 2010 Nov 21.

Nucleolar localization/retention signal is responsible for transient accumulation of histone H2B in the nucleolus through electrostatic interactions.

Author information

1
A.N. Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.

Abstract

The majority of known nuclear proteins are highly mobile. The molecular mechanisms by which they accumulate inside stable compartments that are not separated from the nucleoplasm by membranes are obscure. The compartmental retention of some proteins is associated with their biological function; however, some protein interactions within distinct nuclear structures may be non-specific. The non-specific retention may lead to the accumulation of proteins in distinct structural domains, even if the protein does not function inside this domain. In this study, we have shown that histone H2B-EGFP initially accumulated in the nucleolus after ectopic expression, and then gradually incorporated into the chromatin to leave only a small amount of nucleolus-bound histone that was revealed by removing chromatin-bound proteins with DNase I treatment. Nucleolar histone H2B had several characteristics: (i) it preferentially bound to granular component of the nucleolus and interacted with RNA or RNA-containing nucleolar components; (ii) it freely exchanged between the nucleolus and nucleoplasm; (iii) it associated with the nuclear matrix; and (iv) it bound to interphase prenuclear bodies that formed after hypotonic treatment. The region in histone H2B that acts as a nucleolar localization/retention signal (NoRS) was identified. This signal overlapped with a nuclear localization signal (NLS), which appears to be the primary function of this region. The NoRS activity of this region was non-specific, but the molecular mechanism was probably similar to the NoRSs of other nucleolar proteins. All known NoRSs are enriched with basic amino acids, and we demonstrated that positively charged motifs (nona-arginine (R9) and nona-lysine (K9)) were sufficient for the nucleolar accumulation of EGFP. Also, the correlation between measured NoRS activity and the predicted charge was observed. Thus, NoRSs appear to achieve their function through electrostatic interactions with the negatively charged components of the nucleolus. Though these interactions are non-specific, the functionally unrelated retention of a protein can increase the probability of its interaction with specific and functionally related binding sites.

PMID:
21095207
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbamcr.2010.11.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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