Cell stress is related to re-localization of Argonaute 2 and to decreased RNA interference in human cells

Anke Detzer, Christina Engel, Winfried Wünsche, Georg Sczakiel*

*Corresponding author for this work
30 Citations (Scopus)


Various kinds of stress on human cells induce the formation of endogenous stress granules (SGs). Human Argonaute 2 (hAgo2), the catalytic core component of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), can be recruited to SGs as well as P-bodies (PBs) indicating that the dynamic intracellular distribution of hAgo2 in SGs, in PBs or at other sub-cellular sites could be related to the efficiency of the RNA interference (RNAi) machinery. Here, we studied the influence of heat shock, sodium arsenite (NaAsO2), cycloheximide (CHX) and Lipofectamine TM 2000-mediated transfection of phosphorothioate (PS)-modified oligonucleotides (ON) on the intracellular localization of hAgo2 and the efficiency of RNAi.Fluorescence microscopy and sedimentation analysis of cell fractions indicate stress-induced accumulation of hAgo2 in SGs and the loss of distinctly composed complexes containing hAgo2 or their sub-cellular context. Transfection of cells with PS-ON induces cell stress that is phenotypically similar to the established inducers heat shock and NaAsO2. The intracellular re-distribution of hAgo2 is related to its increased metabolic stability and to decreased RNAi directed by microRNA or by short interfering RNA. Here, we propose a functional model of the relationship between cell stress, translocation of hAgo2 to SGs providing a depot function, and loss of RNAi activity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)2727-2741
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2011


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