* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received July 8, 2009; Revision received December 13, 2009
Western blot after SDS-PAGE for protein separation showed two immunoreactive bands corresponding to monomers (38-40 kDa) and oligomers (210-230 kDa) of nucleophosmin in HeLa cell lysates. Decreasing the buffer ionic strength during the incubation of cells and nuclei destabilized these oligomers. We also showed the existence of two B23/nucleophosmin pools in nuclei of HeLa cells with different sensitivity to hypotonic buffer treatment: one extractable from the nucleus and the other non-extractable and tightly bound to the nucleus. A detailed structural analysis of the extractable B23 pool was carried out: two closely related nucleophosmin isoforms (B23.1 and B23.2) were identified as a result of analysis of C-terminal amino acid sequences using carboxypeptidase hydrolysis; the N-termini of both isoforms are blocked by an acetyl group. As a result of sequencing of the deacetylated proteins, it has been established that the N-terminal amino acid sequence of nucleophosmin in these preparations is truncated by nine amino acid residues and the acetylated residue is Ser. The truncated monomer of nucleophosmin (represented only by the extractable part of the protein) on addition of magnesium ions to low ionic strength buffer or increase in buffer ionic strength was shown to form oligomers with molecular weights (210-230 kDa) similar to those revealed in the total cell lysate. It should be noted that the set of oligomers in this case differs from the one in total cell lysate. Our strategy of characterization of B23 forms for HeLa cells can be applied for other tumor cells.
KEY WORDS: nucleophosmin, monomers, oligomers, HeLa, isoforms, structure