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Distinct domains within the NITROGEN LIMITATION ADAPTATION protein mediate its subcellular localization and function in the nitrate-dependent phosphate homeostasis pathway

Carol Hannam, Satinder K. Gidda, Sabrina Humbert, Mingsheng Peng, Yuhai Cui, John M. Dyer, Steven J. Rothstein, Robert T. Mullen
Botany 2018 v.96 no.2 pp. 79-96
amino acid motifs, homeostasis, mutational analysis, nitrogen, phosphates, plasma membrane, transcription factors, transporters, ubiquitin-protein ligase
The NITROGEN LIMITATION ADAPTATION (NLA) protein is a RING-type E3 ubiquitin ligase that plays an essential role in the regulation of nitrogen and phosphate homeostasis. NLA is localized to two different subcellular sites (the plasma membrane and the nucleus), and contains four distinct domains: (i) a RING domain that mediates degradation of phosphate transporters at the plasma membrane; (ii) an SPX domain that facilitates NLA’s interaction with the phosphate transporters, and also exists in other proteins that regulate the nuclear transcription factors that control the phosphate starvation response pathway; (iii) a linker domain that lies between the RING and SPX domains; and (iv) a C-terminal domain, which, like the linker region, is of unknown function. Here we carried out a mutational analysis of NLA, which indicated that all the domains are not only essential for proper functioning of the protein, but also mediate its localization to the plasma membrane and (or) nucleus, as well as to different subdomains within the nucleus. Overall, the results provide new insights to the distinct protein motifs within NLA and the role(s) that this protein serves at different subcellular sites with respect to the regulation of nitrogen-dependent phosphate homeostasis as well as other possible physiological functions.