Although actin monomers polymerize into filaments in the cytoplasm, the form of actin in the nucleus remains elusive. We searched for the form and function of β-actin fused to nuclear localization signal and to enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EN-actin). Our results reveal that EN-actin is either dispersed in the nucleoplasm (homogenous EN-actin) or forms bundled filaments in the nucleus (EN-actin filaments). Formation of such filaments was not connected with increased EN-actin levels. Among numerous actin-binding proteins tested, only cofilin is recruited to the EN-actin filaments. Overexpression of EN-actin causes increase in the nuclear levels of actin-related protein 3 (Arp3). Although Arp3, a member of actin nucleation complex Arp2/3, is responsible for EN-actin filament nucleation and bundling, the way cofilin affects nuclear EN-actin filaments dynamics is not clear. While cells with homogenous EN-actin maintained unaffected mitosis during which EN-actin re-localizes to the plasma membrane, generation of nuclear EN-actin filaments severely decreases cell proliferation and interferes with mitotic progress. The introduction of EN-actin manifests in two mitotic-inborn defects - formation of binucleic cells and generation of micronuclei - suggesting that cells suffer aberrant cytokinesis and/or impaired chromosomal segregation. In interphase, nuclear EN-actin filaments passed through chromatin region, but do not co-localize with either chromatin remodeling complexes or RNA polymerases I and II. Surprisingly presence of EN-actin filaments was connected with increase in the overall transcription levels in the S-phase by yet unknown mechanism. Taken together, EN-actin can form filaments in the nucleus which affect important cellular processes such as transcription and mitosis.
- Actin-related protein 3
- Nuclear actin