Structural basis of PML/RARA oncoprotein targeting by arsenic unravels a cysteine rheostat controlling PML body assembly and function
Cancer Discovery, September 2023
Pierre Bercier, Qian Qian Wang, Ning Zang, Jie Zhang, Chang Yang, Yasen Maimaitiyiming, Majdouline Abou-Ghali, Caroline Berthier, Chengchen Wu, Michiko Niwa-Kawakita, Thassadite Dirami, Marie-Claude Geoffroy, Omar Ferhi, Samuel Quentin, Shirine Benhenda, Yasumitsu Ogra, Zoher Gueroui, Chun Zhou, Hua Naranmandura, Hugues de The, Valerie Lallemand-Breitenbach
PML Nuclear Bodies (NBs) are disrupted in PML-RARA-driven acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Arsenic trioxide (ATO) cures 70% APL patients, driving PML-RARA degradation and NB reformation. In non-APL cells, arsenic binding onto PML also amplifies NB formation. Yet, the actual molecular mechanism(s) involved remain(s) elusive. Here, we establish that PML NBs display some features of liquid-liquid phase separation and that ATO induces a gel-like transition. PML B-box-2 structure reveals an alpha helix driving B2 trimerization and positioning a cysteine trio to form an ideal arsenic-binding pocket. Altering either of the latter impedes ATO-driven NB-assembly, PML sumoylation and PML-RARA degradation, mechanistically explaining clinical ATO-resistance. This B2 trimer and the C213 trio create an oxidation-sensitive rheostat that controls PML NB assembly dynamics and downstream signaling in both basal state and during stress response. These findings identify the structural basis for arsenic targeting of PML which could pave the way to novel cancer drugs.
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