PloS one

Identification and characterization of the regions involved in the nuclear translocation of the heterodimeric leishmanial DNA topoisomerase IB.

PMID 24023887


Leishmania donovani, the causative organism for visceral leishmaniasis, contains a unique heterodimeric DNA-topoisomerase IB (LdTopIB). LdTopIB is a heterodimer made up of a large subunit and a small subunit that must interact with each other to build an active enzyme able to solve the topological tensions on the DNA. As LdTopIB is located within the nucleus, one or more nuclear localization signals (NLS) should exist to ensure its nuclear translocation. In this report three novel NLS have been identified through a sequential deletion study of the genes encoding of both subunits fused to that encoding the green fluorescent protein (GFP). NLS1 is a highly basic sequence of 43 amino acids in the C-terminal extension of the large protomer. We found two well-defined sequences in the small protomer: NLS2 is a 10-amino acid motif located in the N-terminal extension of the protein; NLS3 consists of a complex region of 28 amino acids placed in the vicinity of the catalytic Tyr-222 included at the conserved SKINY signature within the C-terminal. Furthermore, by means of yeast cell viability assays, conducted with several LdTopIB chimeras lacking any of the NLS motives, we have revealed that both subunits are transported independently to the nucleus. There was no evidence of LdTopIB accumulation in mitochondria or association to the kinetoplast DNA network. The results rule out the former hypothesis, which attributes nucleocytoplasmic transport of LdTopIB entirely to the large subunit. The LdTopIB is localized to the nucleus only.

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