Deletion and site-specific mutagenesis of nucleolin's carboxy GAR domain

Chromosoma. 2003 Apr;111(7):461-9. doi: 10.1007/s00412-003-0231-y. Epub 2003 Feb 26.


Vertebrate nucleolin is an abundant RNA-binding protein in the dense fibrillar component of active nucleoli. Nucleolin is modular in composition. Its amino-terminal third contains alternating acidic and basic domains, its middle section contains four consensus RNA-binding domains (cRBDs), and its carboxy-terminus contains a distinctive glycine/arginine-rich (GAR) domain with several RGG motifs. The arginines within these motifs are asymmetrically dimethylated. Several laboratories have shown that the GAR domain is necessary but not sufficient for the efficient localization of nucleolin to nucleoli. We examined the distribution of endogenous fibrillarin, Nopp140, and B23 when full-length and DeltaGAR nucleolin were expressed exogenously as enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-tagged fusions. Only B23 redistributed when DeltaGAR-EGFP was expressed at moderate to high levels, suggesting an in vivo interaction between nucleolin and B23. Next we substituted all ten arginines within the GAR domain of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) nucleolin with lysines to test the hypothesis that methylation of the carboxy GAR domain is necessary for the nucleolar association of nucleolin. The lysine-substituted mutant was not an in vitro substrate for the yeast protein methyltransferase, Hmt1p/Rmt1. It was, however, able to associate properly with interphase nucleoli and with interphase pre-nucleolar bodies upon recovery from hypotonic shock. We conclude, therefore, that although the GAR domain is necessary for the efficient localization of nucleolin to nucleoli, methylation of this domain is not required for proper nucleolar localization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / chemistry
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Arginine / chemistry
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Nucleolus / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleolus / ultrastructure
  • Cricetinae
  • DNA, Complementary / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Gene Deletion
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Lysine / chemistry
  • Methylation
  • Methyltransferases*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mutation
  • Nucleolin
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Phosphoproteins / chemistry*
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Protein-Arginine N-Methyltransferases
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Transfection


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Phosphoproteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Arginine
  • Methyltransferases
  • PRMT2 protein, human
  • Protein-Arginine N-Methyltransferases
  • Lysine