Protein:protein interaction between Interferon Regulatory Factor (IRF-1) and necleophosmin (NPM1)
Neelagandan, Kalainanghi S.
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Interferon Regulatory Factor -1 (IRF-1) is a transcription factor that acts as a tumour suppressor in cancer cells. The inactivation or deletion of IRF-1 either in one or both allele has been frequently reported in leukaemia and myelodysplasia (MDS). On the other hand nucleophosmin (NPM), a nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling phosphoprotein is also known to be aberrant in some form of leukaemia. NPM was first proposed as a binding partner of IRF-1 in 1997 and suggested to inactivate IRF-1 by inhibiting its DNA binding ability. No further researches on the interaction between IRF-1 and NPM1 was reported prior to the start of my PhD. In the research presented here the interaction and mechanism by which IRF-1 might be inactivated by NPM was studied. Under the context of both NPM and IRF-1 being frequently associated with leukaemia and MDS, the study was done to determine the role of NPM under its naïve condition and a most frequent mutated condition (NPMc+), where the C-terminal of NPM was frequently mutated to give rise to a cytoplasmic NPM in certain leukaemia. In this current research, the direct interaction between IRF1 and NPM was further confirmed both in vitro as well as within the cells. Following this, the effect of this interaction in respect to the leukaemic condition having NPMc+ mutation was done, by comparing the end results on AML2 (leukaemic cells with intact wild type NPM) and AML3 (leukaemic cells having a single NPM allele mutated to form NPMc+) cells. In this research, overexpression of wild type NPM (NPMwt) was found to increase IRF-1 transcriptional activity. On further analysis, the DNA binding activity of IRF-1 due to the presence of NPMwt or NPMc+ was not always inhibited, instead it shows a change in binding specificity, where NPMwt bound IRF-1, lacks DNA binding ability and DNA bound IRF-1 has a reduced binding towards NPM. This is being studied further in terms of NPM overexpression and increased IRF-1 transcriptional activity, as the order of addition (order of interaction in vivo) plays a major role in activating or deactivating IRF-1. This along with the increased transcriptional activity of IRF-1 suggests a novel function of NPM, where it could act in favour of IRF- 1 activity. Additionally, the NPM induced change in IRF-1 localisation was confirmed by the cytoplasmic localised IRF-1 in NPMc+ expressing cells and nucleolar sequestration in NPMwt overexpressing cells. This gives a novel mechanism by which NPM regulates IRF-1. Further, the NPMc+ specific colocalisation of IRF-1 urges to study the other proteins that may have been re-localised in AML cells due to the NPMc+ specific interaction. A mass spectrometric analysis on the cellular distribution of total proteins were analysed between AML2 (cells with NPMwt) and AML3 (cells containing NPMc+). Specific proteins related to cancer have been identified to be differentially distributed rather than being a random translocation. With this being said, a peptide phage display technology coupled with next generation sequencing was done to identify NPMwt binding peptides that can be used in drug discovery process or as small molecule inhibitors or activators. Three different peptides were selected at the end of the study that bind very effectively to NPMwt. These peptide can either aid or restrict NPM activity and need to be validated and studied in the future.