Sequence determinants of human junctophilin-2 protein nuclear localization and phase separation
Published: 29 May 2021
by Elsevier BV
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications , Volume 563, pp 79-84; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2021.05.078
Abstract: Junctophilin-2 (JPH2) was conventionally considered as a structural membrane binding protein. Recently, it was shown that proteolytically truncated mouse JPH2 variants are imported into nucleus to exert alternative functions. However, the intranuclear behaviors of human JPH2 (hJPH2) and underlying molecular determinants have not been explored. Here, we demonstrate that full-length hJPH2 is imported into nucleus in human cells by two nuclear localization signals (NLSs), including a newly discovered one at the C-terminus. Importantly, unlike the JPH2 N-terminal truncation which diffuses throughout the nucleus, full-length hJPH2 forms nuclear bodies behaving like liquid-liquid phase separated droplets that are separated from chromatin. The C-terminal transmembrane domain is required for the formation of hJPH2 droplets. Oxidation mimicking substitution of residues C678 and M679 augments the formation of hJPH2 nuclear droplets, suggesting nuclear hJPH2 liquid-liquid phase separation could be modulated by oxidative stress. Mutation A405D, which introduces a negatively charged residue into an intrinsic disordered region (IDR) of hJPH2, turns liquid-like droplets into amyloid-like aggregates. Depletion of an Alanine Rich Region in the IDR recapitulates the liquid-amyloid phase transition. The MORN repeat regions of hJPH2 encodes intrinsic tendency to form amyloid-like structure. Together, these data revealed the novel intrinsic properties of hJPH2 to form nuclear liquid droplets, and identified critical functional domains encoding these properties. We propose that hJPH2 droplets could function as membrane-less organelles participating in nuclear regulatory processes.
Keywords: Junctophilin-2 / Liquid-liquid phase separation / Liquid droplet / Nuclear localization / Amyloid / Intrinsic disordered protein
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