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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Assembly dynamics of PML nuclear bodies in living cells

Peter Brand1, Thorsten Lenser2 and Peter Hemmerich1*

Author Affiliations

1 Leibniz-Institute of Age Research, Fritz-Lipman-Institute, Beutenbergstr, 11, 07745 Jena, Germany

2 Institute of Computer Science, Friedrich-Schiller-University, 07743 Jena, Germany

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PMC Biophysics 2010, 3:3  doi:10.1186/1757-5036-3-3

Published: 5 March 2010

Abstract

The mammalian cell nucleus contains a variety of organelles or nuclear bodies which contribute to key nuclear functions. Promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies (PML NBs) are involved in the regulation of apoptosis, antiviral responses, the DNA damage response and chromatin structure, but their precise biochemical function in these nuclear pathways is unknown. One strategy to tackle this problem is to assess the biophysical properties of the component parts of these macromolecular assemblies in living cells. In this study we determined PML NB assembly dynamics by live cell imaging, combined with mathematical modeling. For the first time, dynamics of PML body formation were measured in cells lacking endogenous PML. We show that all six human nuclear PML isoforms are able to form nuclear bodies in PML negative cells. All isoforms exhibit individual exchange rates at NBs in PML positive cells but PML I, II, III and IV are static at nuclear bodies in PML negative cells, suggesting that these isoforms require additional protein partners for efficient exchange. PML V turns over at PML Nbs very slowly supporting the idea of a structural function for this isoform. We also demonstrate that SUMOylation of PML at Lysine positions K160 and/or K490 are required for nuclear body formation in vivo.We propose a model in which the isoform specific residence times of PML provide both, structural stability to function as a scaffold and flexibility to attract specific nuclear proteins for efficient biochemical reactions at the surface of nuclear bodies.

MCS code: 92C37