The monoclonal antibody MPM-2 recognizes a subset of M phase phosphoproteins in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. It is believed that phosphorylation at MPM-2 antigenic sites could regulate mitotic events since most of the MPM-2 antigens identified to date have M phase functions. In addition, many of these proteins are substrates of the mitotic regulator Pin1, a peptidyl-prolyl isomerase which is present throughout the cell cycle and which is thought to alter its mitotic targets by changing their conformation. In interphase cells, most MPM-2 reactivity is confined to nuclear speckles. We report here that a hyperphosphorylated form of the RNA polymerase II largest subunit is the major MPM-2 interphase antigen. These findings were made possible by the availability of another monoclonal antibody, CC-3, that was previously used to identify a 255 kDa nuclear matrix protein associated with spliceosomal components as a hyperphosphorylated form of the RNA polymerase II largest subunit. MPM-2 recognizes a phosphoepitope of the large subunit that becomes hyperphosphorylated upon heat shock in contrast to the phosphoepitope defined by CC-3, whose reactivity is diminished by the heat treatment. Therefore, these two antibodies may discriminate between distinct functional forms of RNA polymerase II. We also show that RNA polymerase II large subunit interacts with Pin1 in HeLa cells. Pin1 may thus regulate transcriptional and post-transcriptional events by catalyzing phosphorylation-dependent conformational changes of the large RNA polymerase II subunit.

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