The zinc finger CCCTC-binding protein (CTCF) carries out many functions in the cell. Although previous studies sought to explain CTCF multivalency based on sequence composition of binding sites, few examined how CTCF post-translational modification (PTM) could contribute to function. Here, we performed CTCF mass spectrometry, identified a novel phosphorylation site at Serine 224 (Ser224-P), and demonstrate that phosphorylation is carried out by Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1). CTCF Ser224-P is chromatin-associated, mapping to at least a subset of known CTCF sites. CTCF Ser224-P accumulates during the G2/M transition of the cell cycle and is enriched at pericentric regions. The phospho-obviation mutant, S224A, appeared normal. However, the phospho-mimic mutant, S224E, is detrimental to mouse embryonic stem cell colonies. While ploidy and chromatin architecture appear unaffected, S224E mutants differentially express hundreds of genes, including p53 and p21. We have thus identified a new CTCF PTM and provided evidence of biological function.
Keywords: CTCF; PLK1; cell cycle; chromosome architecture; chromosomes; gene expression; mouse; post-translational modification.
© 2019, Del Rosario et al.