The Effect of FG-Nup Phosphorylation on NPC Selectivity: A One-Bead-Per-Amino-Acid Molecular Dynamics Study

Ankur Mishra, Wouter Sipma, Liesbeth M. Veenhoff, Erik Van der Giessen, Patrick R. Onck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) are large protein complexes embedded in the nuclear envelope separating the cytoplasm from the nucleoplasm in eukaryotic cells. They function as selective gates for the transport of molecules in and out of the nucleus. The inner wall of the NPC is coated with intrinsically disordered proteins rich in phenylalanine-glycine repeats (FG-repeats), which are responsible for the intriguing selectivity of NPCs. The phosphorylation state of the FG-Nups is controlled by kinases and phosphatases. In the current study, we extended our one-bead-per-amino-acid (1BPA) model for intrinsically disordered proteins to account for phosphorylation. With this, we performed molecular dynamics simulations to probe the effect of phosphorylation on the Stokes radius of isolated FG-Nups, and on the structure and transport properties of the NPC. Our results indicate that phosphorylation causes a reduced attraction between the residues, leading to an extension of the FG-Nups and the formation of a significantly less dense FG-network inside the NPC. Furthermore, our simulations show that upon phosphorylation, the transport rate of inert molecules increases, while that of nuclear transport receptors decreases, which can be rationalized in terms of modified hydrophobic, electrostatic, and steric interactions. Altogether, our models provide a molecular framework to explain how extensive phosphorylation of FG-Nups decreases the selectivity of the NPC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number596
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1-Feb-2019

Keywords

  • Nuclear pore complex
  • FG-Nups
  • phosphorylation
  • NUCLEAR-PORE COMPLEX
  • HYDRODYNAMIC PROPERTIES
  • PROTEIN IMPORT
  • TRANSPORT
  • NUCLEOPORINS
  • ARCHITECTURE
  • HYDROPHOBICITY
  • PREDICTION
  • PARTICLES
  • HYDROGEL

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