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Operation of a TCA cycle subnetwork in the mammalian nucleus

By Eleni Kafkia, Amparo Andres-Pons, Kerstin Ganter, Markus Seiler, Paula Jouhten, Filipa Pereira, Judith B Zaugg, Christophe Lancrin, Martin Beck, Kiran Raosaheb Patil

Posted 23 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.22.393413

Nucleic acid and histone modifications critically depend on central metabolism for substrates and co-factors. Although a few enzymes related to the formation of these required metabolites have been reported in the nucleus, the corresponding metabolic pathways are considered to function elsewhere in the cell. Here we show that a substantial part of the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, the biosynthetic hub of epigenetic modification factors, is operational also in the nucleus. Using 13C-tracer analysis, we identified activity of glutamine-to-fumarate, citrate-to-succinate, and glutamine-to-aspartate routes in the nuclei of HeLa cells. Proximity labeling mass-spectrometry revealed a spatial vicinity of the involved enzymes with core nuclear proteins, supporting their nuclear location. We further show nuclear localization of aconitase 2 and 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase in mouse embryonic stem cells. Together, our results demonstrate operation of an extended metabolic pathway in the nucleus warranting a revision of the canonical view on metabolic compartmentalization and gene expression regulation.

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