THERMOSTABILITY OF A NUCLEAR-TARGETED LUCIFERASE EXPRESSED IN MAMMALIAN-CELLS - DESTABILIZING INFLUENCE OF THE INTRANUCLEAR MICROENVIRONMENT

AA MICHELS, VT NGUYEN, AW KONINGS, HH KAMPINGA, O BENSAUDE

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    Abstract

    Protein denaturation and aggregation are most likely the cause for the noxious effects of heat shock, There are some indications that the nucleus is one of the most sensitive cellular compartments, To test the possibility that the intranuclear microenvironment might be detrimental to the heat stability of proteins, we compared the in situ thermal stability of a reporter protein localized in the nucleus or in the cytoplasm. A recombinant firefly (Photynus pyralis) luciferase carrying a point mutation in the C-terminal domain remains in the cytoplasm (cyt-luciferase). A nuclear localization sequence was fused to the N-terminal domain of cyt-luciferase; the resulting nuc-luciferase was efficiently targeted to the cell nucleus.

    In both cases, decreased luciferase activity and solubility were found in lysates from heat-shocked cells. These characteristics were taken as an indication of thermal denaturation in situ, The heat-inactivated luciferases were partially reactivated during recovery after stress, indicating the capacity of both the cytoplasmic and nuclear compartments to reassemble proteins from an aggregated state,

    Although both the nuc- and the cyt-luciferases were heat inactivated at similar rates in vitro, nuc-luciferase was more susceptible to thermal denaturation in situ compared to cyt-luciferase. This observation suggests that the microenvironment of an intracellular compartment may modulate the thermal stability of proteins. The local concentration might be one element of this microenvironment affecting the heat-stability of proteins.

    In cells made thermotolerant by a priming shack, the thermal inactivation of the recombinant luciferases occurred at a slower rate during a second challenging stress. However, this decreased thermal sensitivity was less pronounced for the nuc-luciferase (threefold) than for the cyt-luciferase (sevenfold). The nuclear luciferase might become a useful tool to investigate the action of molecular chaperones in the nucleus.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)382-389
    Number of pages8
    JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
    Volume234
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1-Dec-1995

    Keywords

    • PROTEIN DENATURATION
    • HEAT SHOCK
    • LUCIFERASE
    • NUCLEAR LOCALIZATION
    • THERMOTOLERANCE
    • HEAT-SHOCK PROTEINS
    • FIREFLY LUCIFERASE
    • STRESS PROTEINS
    • RNA-POLYMERASE
    • C-MYC
    • DENATURATION
    • THERMOTOLERANCE
    • CHAPERONES
    • RECOVERY
    • ENZYMES

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