Kinase activity of histone chaperone APLF maintains steady state of centrosomes in mouse embryonic stem cells

Our recent studies revealed the role of mouse Aprataxin PNK-like Factor (APLF) in development. Nevertheless, the comprehensive characterization of mouse APLF remains entirely unexplored. Based on domain deletion studies, here we report that mouse APLF’s Acidic Domain and Fork Head Associated (FHA) domain can chaperone histones and repair DNA like the respective human orthologs. Immunofluorescence studies in mouse embryonic stem cells showed APLF co-localized with γ-tubulin within and around the centrosomes and govern the number and integrity of centrosomes via PLK4 phosphorylation. Enzymatic analysis established mouse APLF as a kinase. Docking studies identified three putative ATP binding sites within the FHA domain. Site-directed mutagenesis showed that R37 residue within the FHA domain is indispensable for the kinase activity of APLF thereby regulating the centrosome number. These findings might assist us comprehend APLF in different pathological and developmental conditions and reveal non-canonical kinase activity of proteins harbouring FHA domains that might impact multiple cellular processes.
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