The heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNP) associate with pre-mRNA in the nucleus and play an important role in RNA processing and splice site selection. In addition, hnRNP A proteins function in the export of mRNA to the cytoplasm. Although the hnRNP A proteins are predominantly nuclear, hnRNP A1 shuttles rapidly between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. HnRNP A2, whose cytoplasmic overexpression has been identified as an early biomarker of lung cancer, has been less well studied. Cytosolic hnRNP A2 overexpression has also been noted in brain tumors, in which it has been correlated with translational repression of Glucose Transporter-1 expression. We now examine the role of arginine methylation on the nucleocytoplasmic localization of hnRNP A2 in the HEK-293 and NIH-3T3 mammalian cell lines. Treatment of either cell line with the methyltransferase inhibitor adenosine dialdehyde dramatically shifts hnRNP A2 localization from the nuclear to the cytoplasmic compartment, as shown both by immunoblotting and by immunocytochemistry. In vitro radiolabeling with [(3)H]AdoMet of GST-tagged hnRNP A2 RGG mutants, using recombinant protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT1), shows (i) that hnRNP A2 is a substrate for PRMT1 and (ii) that methylated residues are found only in the RGG domain. Deletion of the RGG domain (R191-G253) of hnRNP A2 results in a cytoplasmic localization phenotype, detected both by immunoblotting and by immunocytochemistry. These studies indicate that the RGG domain of hnRNP A2 contains sequences critical for cellular localization of the protein. The data suggest that hnRNP A2 may contain a novel nuclear localization sequence, regulated by arginine methylation, that lies in the R191-G253 region and may function independently of the M9 transportin-1-binding region in hnRNP A2.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.