Human holocarboxylase synthetase with a start site at methionine-58 is the predominant nuclear variant of this protein and has catalytic activity

Baolong Bao, Subhashinee S K Wijeratne, Rocio Rodriguez-Melendez, Janos Zempleni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Holocarboxylase synthetase (HLCS) catalyzes the covalent binding of biotin to both carboxylases in extranuclear structures and histones in cell nuclei, thereby mediating important roles in intermediary metabolism, gene regulation, and genome stability. HLCS has three putative translational start sites (methionine-1, -7, and -58), but lacks a strong nuclear localization sequence that would explain its participation in epigenetic events in the cell nucleus. Recent evidence suggests that small quantities of HLCS with a start site in methionine-58 (HLCS58) might be able to enter the nuclear compartment. We generated the following novel insights into HLCS biology. First, we generated a novel HLCS fusion protein vector to demonstrate that methionine-58 is a functional translation start site in human cells. Second, we used confocal microscopy and western blots to demonstrate that HLCS58 enters the cell nucleus in meaningful quantities, and that full-length HLCS localizes predominantly in the cytoplasm but may also enter the nucleus. Third, we produced recombinant HLCS58 to demonstrate its biological activity toward catalyzing the biotinylation of both carboxylases and histones. Collectively, these observations are consistent with roles of HLCS58 and full-length HLCS in nuclear events. We conclude this report by proposing a novel role for HLCS in epigenetic events, mediated by physical interactions between HLCS and other chromatin proteins as part of a larger multiprotein complex that mediates gene repression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-120
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 19 2011



  • Biotin
  • Carboxylases
  • Holocarboxylase synthetase
  • Nucleus
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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