, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 137-152
Date: 17 Jul 2012

Pyk2 cytonuclear localization: mechanisms and regulation by serine dephosphorylation


Cytonuclear signaling is essential for long-term alterations of cellular properties. Several pathways involving regulated nuclear accumulation of Ser/Thr kinases have been described but little is known about cytonuclear trafficking of tyrosine kinases. Proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2) is a cytoplasmic non-receptor tyrosine kinase enriched in neurons and involved in functions ranging from synaptic plasticity to bone resorption, as well as in cancer. We previously showed the Ca2+-induced, calcineurin-dependent, nuclear localization of Pyk2. Here, we characterize the molecular mechanisms of Pyk2 cytonuclear localization in transfected PC12 cells. The 700–841 linker region of Pyk2 recapitulates its depolarization-induced nuclear accumulation. This region includes a nuclear export motif regulated by phosphorylation at residue S778, a substrate of cAMP-dependent protein kinase and calcineurin. Nuclear import is controlled by a previously identified sequence in the N-terminal domain and by a novel nuclear targeting signal in the linker region. Regulation of cytonuclear trafficking is independent of Pyk2 activity. The region regulating nuclear localization is absent from the non-neuronal shorter splice isoform of Pyk2. Our results elucidate the mechanisms of Ca2+-induced nuclear accumulation of Pyk2. They also suggest that Pyk2 nuclear accumulation is a novel type of signaling response that may contribute to specific long-term adaptations in neurons.