Lysines in the RNA Polymerase II C-Terminal Domain Contribute to TAF15 Fibril Recruitment
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Many cancer-causing chromosomal translocations result in transactivating protein products encoding FET family (FUS, EWSR1, TAF15) low-complexity (LC) domains fused to a DNA binding domain from one of several transcription factors. Recent work demonstrates that higher-order assemblies of FET LC domains bind the carboxy-terminal domain of the large subunit of RNA polymerase II (RNA pol II CTD), suggesting FET oncoproteins may mediate aberrant transcriptional activation by recruiting RNA polymerase II to promoters of target genes. Here we use nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and hydrogel fluorescence microscopy localization and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching to visualize atomic details of a model of this process, interactions of RNA pol II CTD with high-molecular weight TAF15 LC assemblies. We report NMR resonance assignments of the intact degenerate repeat half of human RNA pol II CTD alone and verify its predominant intrinsic disorder by molecular simulation. By measuring NMR spin relaxation and dark-state exchange saturation transfer, we characterize the interaction of RNA pol II CTD with amyloid-like hydrogel fibrils of TAF15 and hnRNP A2 LC domains and observe that heptads far from the acidic C-terminal tail of RNA pol II CTD bind TAF15 fibrils most avidly. Mutation of CTD lysines in heptad position 7 to consensus serines reduced the overall level of TAF15 fibril binding, suggesting that electrostatic interactions contribute to complex formation. Conversely, mutations of position 7 asparagine residues and truncation of the acidic tail had little effect. Thus, weak, multivalent interactions between TAF15 fibrils and heptads throughout RNA pol II CTD collectively mediate complex formation.
author list (cited authors)
Janke, A. M., Seo, D. H., Rahmanian, V., Conicella, A. E., Mathews, K. L., Burke, K. A., Mittal, J., & Fawzi, N. L.