Nuclear import mechanism of Php4 under iron deprivation in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe
Khan, Md Gulam Musawwir
SubjectCCAAT-binding transcription factor
Php4 is a subunit of the CCAAT-binding protein complex that has a negative regulatory function during iron deprivation in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Under low iron conditions, Php4 fosters the repression of genes encoding iron using proteins. In contrast, under iron-replete conditions, Php4 is inactivated at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Our group has already described that Php4 is a nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling protein, which accumulates into the nucleus during iron deficiency. On the contrary, Php4 is exported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in response to iron abundance. Php4 possesses a leucine-rich NES (93LLEQLEML100) that is necessary for its nuclear export by the exportin Crm1. Our current study aims at understanding the mechanism by which Php4 is imported in the nucleus during iron starvation. Through microscopic analyses using different mutant strains, we showed that the nuclear localization of Php4 is independent of the other subunits of the CCAAT-binding core complex namely Php2, Php3 and Php5. Deletion mapping analysis of Php4 identifies two putative nuclear localization sequences (NLSs) in Php4 (171KRIR174 and 234KSVKRVR240). Using chimeric proteins that consist of GFP fused to Php4, we engineered substitutions of the basic amino acid residues 171AAIA174 and 234ASVAAAA240 and analyzed the functionality of both NLSs. We observed that both monopartite NLSs play critical role for Php4 nuclear localization. We also observed that mutant strains of cut15+, imp1+ or sal3+ exhibited defects in nuclear targeting of Php4, revealing that nuclear accumulation of Php4 is dependent on two karyopherin α (Imp1 and Cut15) and one karyopherin β (Sal3) receptors. Consistently, the Php4-mediated repression activity is abolished in the absence of two functional NLSs. Moreover, loss of Imp1, Cut15 or Sal3 resulted in increased expression of isa1+, which is a target gene of Php4. Co-immunoprecipitation assay (Co-IP) reveals physical interaction of Php4 with Imp1, Cut15 and Sal3 in vitro. Collectively, our results demonstrate that Php4 has two distinct NLS regions responsible for its nuclear localization. Furthermore, karyopherin α and β receptors play a role in the nuclear import of Php4. Because Php4 is essential for growth under low iron conditions, the presence of two NLSs would ensure the protein to reach its nuclear destination when cells undergo a transition from iron-sufficient to iron-limiting conditions.