N-terminal domains of plant poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases define their association with mitotic chromosomes


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Poly(ADP-ribos)ylation is a reversible protein modification that in higher plants is catalyzed by two structurally different poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases, App and Zap. In vivo imaging of green-fluorescent protein (GPF) fusions showed that both Zap and App were associated with chromatin through the cell cycle progression. The in vivo behaviour of the App-GFP protein fusions can be attributed to the activity of two NASA motifs that mediate protein–protein interactions and nucleic acid binding. Expression of Zap deletion variants revealed that both Zn fingers and helix-turn-helix domains contributed to the association with chromosomes, whereas the localization in the nucleoplasm was mostly determined by the Zn fingers. The results highlight novel properties of protein sequences found in plant poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases and suggest important functions for this class of nuclear enzymes in chromosome dynamics.