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Nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of SAMHD1 is important for LINE-1 suppression

Du, Juan, Peng, Yanfeng, Wang, Shaohua, Hou, Jingwei, Wang, Yu, Sun, Tianmeng, Zhao, Ke
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2019 v.510 no.4 pp. 551-557
Retroviridae, antiviral properties, cytoplasm, digitonin, fractionation, humans, mutants, nuclear localization signals, nucleocytoplasmic transport, nucleoside-triphosphate phosphatase, retrotransposons
Currently, SAMHD1 is the only known dNTPase in human cells. It also suppresses the replication of both retroviruses and retroelements. SAMHD1 contains a classic nuclear localization sequence (NLS) and resides in the nucleus in live or fixed cells. It has been reported that alteration or removal of NLS does not affect the dNTPase or the antiviral activity of SAMHD1. However, it was unclear whether the nuclear localization was involved in SAMHD1-mediated suppression against retroelements such as long interspersed element type 1 (LINE-1 or L1). In this study, we reported that SAMHD1 is a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein. Digitonin-based cytoplasm/nucleus fractionation tests suggested that SAMHD1 is capable of being exported from the nucleus, which was confirmed by introducing exogenous exportin Xpo1 in live cells. Interestingly, altering the protein's subcellular localization by mutating or removing NLS significantly enhances SAMHD1's potency in L1 suppression. Further tests with SAMHD1 mutants indicated that nucleocytoplasmic shuttling is important for SAMHD1-mediated L1 suppression. Finally, we demonstrated that the cytoplasmic distribution of SAMHD1 leads to an enhanced depletion of L1 ORF2p. Taken together, our data have revealed SAMHD1 as a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein, and associated such a new feature of SAMHD1 with its potency against L1 retrotransposition, which provides more insights to the understanding of SAMHD1 and its role in L1 suppression.