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Jul 2017 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Intrinsically disordered chromatin protein NUPR1 binds to the C-terminal region of Polycomb RING1B.


Santofimia-Castaño P, Rizzuti B, Pey ÁL, Soubeyran P, Vidal M, Urrutia R, Iovanna JL, Neira JL


Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are ubiquitous in eukaryotes, and they are often associated with diseases in humans. The protein NUPR1 is a multifunctional IDP involved in chromatin remodeling and in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer; however, the details of such functions are unknown. Polycomb proteins are involved in specific transcriptional cascades and gene silencing. One of the proteins of the Polycomb complex is the Ring finger protein 1 (RING1). RING1 is related to aggressive tumor features in multiple cancer types. In this work we characterized the interaction between NUPR1 and the paralogue RING1B in vitro, in silico, and in cellulo. The interaction occurred through the C-terminal region of RING1B (C-RING1B), with an affinity in the low micromolar range (∼10 μM). The binding region of NUPR1, mapped by NMR, was a hydrophobic polypeptide patch at the 30s region of its sequence, as pinpointed by computational results and site-directed mutagenesis at Ala33. The association between C-RING1B and wild-type NUPR1 also occurred in cellulo as tested by protein ligation assays; this interaction is inhibited by trifluoperazine, a drug known to hamper binding of wild-type NUPR1 with other proteins. Furthermore, the Thr68Gln and Ala33Gln/Thr68Gln mutants had a reduction in the binding toward C-RING1B as shown by in vitro, in silico, and in cellulo studies. This is an example of a well-folded partner of NUPR1, because its other interacting proteins are also unfolded. We hypothesize that NUPR1 plays an active role in chromatin remodeling and carcinogenesis, together with Polycomb proteins.

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