Regulation of chromatin binding by a conformational switch in the tail of the Ran exchange factor RCC1.

Hao Y, Macara IG
J Cell Biol. 2008 182 (5): 827-36

PMID: 18762580 · PMCID: PMC2528582 · DOI:10.1083/jcb.200803110

RCC1 is the only known exchange factor for the Ran guanosine triphosphatase and performs essential roles in nuclear transport, spindle organization, and nuclear envelope formation. RCC1 binds to chromatin through a bimodal attachment to DNA and histones, and defects in binding cause chromosome missegregation. Chromatin binding is enhanced by apo-Ran. However, the mechanism underlying this regulation has been unclear. We now demonstrate that the N-terminal tail of RCC1 is essential for association with DNA but inhibits histone binding. Apo-Ran significantly promotes RCC1 binding to both DNA and histones, and these effects are tail mediated. Using a fluorescence resonance energy transfer biosensor, we detect conformational changes in the tail of RCC1 coupled to the two binding modes and in response to interactions with Ran and importin-alpha. The biosensor also reports changes accompanying mitosis in living cells. We propose that Ran induces an allosteric conformational switch in the tail that exposes the histone-binding surface on RCC1 and facilitates association of the positively charged tail with DNA.

MeSH Terms (16)

Animals Binding Sites Cell Cycle Proteins Cell Line Chromatin DNA-Binding Proteins Dogs Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors Histones Humans Mitosis Nuclear Proteins Phosphorylation Protein Structure, Tertiary ran GTP-Binding Protein

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