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Title: Zinc Alters the Supramolecular Organization of Nucleic Acid Complexes with Full-Length TIA1
T-Cell Intracellular Antigen-1 (TIA1) is a 43 kDa multi-domain RNA-binding protein involved in stress granule formation during eukaryotic stress response, and has been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases including Welander distal myopathy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. TIA1 contains three RNA recognition motifs (RRMs), which are capable of binding nucleic acids and a C-terminal Q/N-rich prion-related domain (PRD) which has been variously described as intrinsically disordered or prion inducing and is believed to play a role in promoting liquid-liquid phase separation connected with the assembly of stress granule formation. Motivated by the fact that our prior work shows RRMs 2 and 3 are well-ordered in an oligomeric full-length form, while RRM1 and the PRD appear to phase separate, the present work addresses whether the oligomeric form is functional and competent for binding, and probes the consequences of nucleic acid binding for oligomerization and protein conformation change. New SSNMR data show that ssDNA binds to full-length oligomeric TIA1 primarily at the RRM2 domain, but also weakly at the RRM3 domain, and Zn2+ binds primarily to RRM3. Binding of Zn2+ and DNA was reversible for the full-length wild type oligomeric form, and did not lead to formation of amyloid fibrils, despite the presence of the C-terminal prion-related domain. While TIA1:DNA complexes appear as long “daisy chained” structures, the addition of Zn2+ caused the structures to collapse. We surmise that this points to a regulatory role for Zn2+. By occupying various “half” binding sites on RRM3 Zn2+ may shift the nucleic acid binding off RRM3 and onto RRM2. More importantly, the use of different half sites on different monomers may introduce a mesh of crosslinks in the supramolecular complex rendering it compact and markedly reducing the access to the nucleic acids (including transcripts) from solution.  more » « less
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