Nuclear pore complexes form a selective filter that allows the rapid passage of transport factors (TFs) and their cargoes across the nuclear envelope, while blocking the passage of other macromolecules. Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) containing phenylalanyl-glycyl (FG) rich repeats line the pore and interact with TFs. However, the reason that transport can be both fast and specific remains undetermined, through lack of atomic-scale information on the behavior of FGs and their interaction with TFs. We used NMR spectroscopy to address these issues. We show that FG repeats are highly dynamic IDPs, stabilized by the cellular environment. Fast transport of TFs is supported because the rapid motion of FG motifs allows them to exchange on and off TFs extremely quickly through transient interactions. Because TFs uniquely carry multiple pockets for FG repeats, only they can form the many frequent interactions needed for specific passage between FG repeats to cross the NPC.
- Volker Dötsch, Goethe University, Germany
© 2015, Hough et al.
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Sirtuin 6 (SIRT6) is an NAD+-dependent histone H3 deacetylase that is prominently found associated with chromatin, attenuates transcriptionally active promoters and regulates DNA repair, metabolic homeostasis and lifespan. Unlike other sirtuins, it has low affinity to free histone tails but demonstrates strong binding to nucleosomes. It is poorly understood how SIRT6 docking on nucleosomes stimulates its histone deacetylation activity. Here, we present the structure of human SIRT6 bound to a nucleosome determined by cryogenic electron microscopy. The zinc finger domain of SIRT6 associates tightly with the acidic patch of the nucleosome through multiple arginine anchors. The Rossmann fold domain binds to the terminus of the looser DNA half of the nucleosome, detaching two turns of the DNA from the histone octamer and placing the NAD+ binding pocket close to the DNA exit site. This domain shows flexibility with respect to the fixed zinc finger and moves with, but also relative to, the unwrapped DNA terminus. We apply molecular dynamics simulations of the histone tails in the nucleosome to show that in this mode of interaction, the active site of SIRT6 is perfectly poised to catalyze deacetylation of the H3 histone tail and that the partial unwrapping of the DNA allows even lysines close to the H3 core to reach the enzyme.
The surface layer of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius consists of a flexible but stable outer protein layer that interacts with an inner, membrane-bound protein.