Optical control of protein delivery and partitioning in the nucleolus. Academic Article uri icon


  • The nucleolus is a subnuclear membraneless compartment intimately involved in ribosomal RNA synthesis, ribosome biogenesis and stress response. Multiple optogenetic devices have been developed to manipulate nuclear protein import and export, but molecular tools tailored for remote control over selective targeting or partitioning of cargo proteins into subnuclear compartments capable of phase separation are still limited. Here, we report a set of single-component photoinducible nucleolus-targeting tools, designated pNUTs, toenable rapid and reversible nucleoplasm-to-nucleolus shuttling, with the half-lives ranging from milliseconds to minutes. pNUTs allow both global protein infiltration into nucleoli and local delivery of cargoes into the outermost layer of the nucleolus, the granular component. When coupled with the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-associated C9ORF72 proline/arginine-rich dipeptide repeats, pNUTs allow us to photomanipulate poly-proline-arginine nucleolar localization, perturb nucleolar protein nucleophosmin 1and suppress nascent protein synthesis. pNUTs thus expand the optogenetic toolbox by permitting light-controllable interrogation of nucleolar functions and precise induction of ALS-associated toxicity in cellular models.

published proceedings

  • Nucleic Acids Res

altmetric score

  • 5.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Tan, P., Hong, T., Cai, X., Li, W., Huang, Y., He, L., & Zhou, Y.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Tan, Peng||Hong, Tingting||Cai, Xiaoli||Li, Wenbo||Huang, Yun||He, Lian||Zhou, Yubin

publication date

  • January 2022