Effects of nuclear factor I phosphorylation on calpastatin (CAST) gene variant expression and subcellular distribution in malignant glioma cells [Molecular Bases of Disease] (Journal of Biological Chemistry)
Malignant glioma (MG) is the most lethal primary brain tumor. In addition to having inherent resistance to radiation treatment and chemotherapy, MG cells are highly infiltrative, rendering focal therapies ineffective. Genes involved in MG cell migration and glial cell differentiation are up-regulated by hypophosphorylated nuclear factor I (NFI), which is dephosphorylated by the phosphatase calcineurin in MG cells. Calcineurin is cleaved and thereby activated by calpain proteases, which are, in turn, inhibited by calpastatin (CAST). Here, we show that the CAST gene is a target of NFI and has NFI-binding sites in its intron 3 region. We also found that NFI-mediated regulation of CAST depends on NFI`s phosphorylation state. We noted that occupation of CAST intron 3 by hypophosphorylated NFI results in increased activation of an alternative promoter. This activation resulted in higher levels of CAST transcript variants, leading to increased levels of CAST protein that lacks the N-terminal XL domain. CAST was primarily present in the cytoplasm of NFI-hypophosphorylated MG cells, with a predominantly perinuclear immunostaining pattern. NFI knockdown in NFI-hypophosphorylated MG cells increased CAST levels at the plasma membrane. These results suggest that NFI plays an integral role in the regulation of CAST variants and CAST subcellular distribution. Along with the previous findings indicating that NFI activity is regulated by calcineurin, these results provide a foundation for further investigations into the possibility of regulatory cross-talk between NFI and the CAST/calpain/calcineurin signaling pathway in MG cells.