Serine phosphorylation within a concise amino-terminal domain in nuclear respiratory factor 1 enhances DNA binding

Sajiv Gugneja, Richard C. Scarpulla*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF-1) is a transcriptional activator that acts on a diverse set of nuclear genes required for mitochondrial respiratory function in mammalian cells. These genes encode respiratory proteins as well as components of the mitochondrial transcription, replication, and heme biosynthetic machinery. Here, we establish that NRF-1 is a phosphoprotein in vivo. Phosphorylation occurs on serine residues within a concise NH2- terminal domain with the major sites of phosphate incorporation at serines 39, 44, 46, 47, and 52. The in vivo phosphorylation pattern can be approximated in vitro by phosphorylating recombinant NRF-1 with purified casein kinase II. Phosphate incorporation at the sites utilized in vivo results in a marked stimulation of DNA binding activity which is not observed in mutated proteins lacking these sites. Pairwise expression of the wild- type protein with each of a series of truncated derivatives in transfected cells results in the formation of a dimer between wild-type and mutant forms demonstrating that a homodimer is the active binding species. Although NRF-1 can dimerize in the absence of DNA, phosphorylation does not enhance the formation of these directs. These findings suggest that phosphorylation results in an intrinsic change in the NRF-1 dimer enhancing its ability to bind DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18732-18739
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume272
Issue number30
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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