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Logo of bcriBiochemistry Research International
Biochem Res Int. 2012; 2012: 831940.
Published online 2012 April 11. doi:  10.1155/2012/831940
PMCID: PMC3332165

Sumoylation of Human Translationally Controlled Tumor Protein Is Important for Its Nuclear Transport


Translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP) lacks nuclear bipartite localization signal sequence; yet TCTP is present abundantly in the nucleus. At present it is not known how TCTP gets transported to the nucleus. Sequence analyses showed that all TCTPs described to date have putative small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) motifs. Since SUMO modification plays an important role in the nuclear transport of proteins, we evaluated whether SUMO motifs are important for transport of TCTP into the nucleus. We show that TCTP exists in sumoylated form in cytoplasm and nucleus of mammalian cells. Point mutation of lysine residue in the SUMO motif compromised the ability of TCTP to get sumoylated in vitro. When cells were transfected with FLAG-tagged mutated TCTP, nuclear transport of TCTP was inhibited confirming that sumoylation is critical for the nuclear transport of TCTP. Our previous studies demonstrated that TCTP can function as an antioxidant protein in the nucleus. When we mutated TCTP at the SUMO motif the antioxidant function of TCTP was compromised. Results presented in this study thus show that sumoylation plays an important role in the transport of TCTP into the nucleus where they function as antioxidant protein.

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