The Journal of biological chemistry

Cell Type- and Tissue Context-dependent Nuclear Distribution of Human Ago2.

PMID 26699195


Argonaute-2 protein (Ago2), a major component of RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), has been viewed as a cytoplasmic protein. In this study, we demonstrated by immunofluorescence confocal microscopy that Ago2 is distributed mainly as a nuclear protein in primary human foreskin keratinocytes in monolayer cultures and their derived organotypic (raft) cultures, although it exhibits only a minimal level of nuclear distribution in continuous cell lines such as HeLa and HaCaT cells. Oncogenic human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) or type 18 (HPV18) infection of the keratinocytes does not affect the nuclear Ago2 distribution. Examination of human tissues reveals that Ago2 exhibits primarily as a nuclear protein in skin, normal cervix, and cervical cancer tissues, but not in larynx. Together, our data provide the first convincing evidence that the subcellular distribution of Ago2 occurs in a cell type- and tissue context-dependent manner and may correlate with its various functions in regulation of gene expression.