The N-terminal domain of the Schaaf-Yang syndrome protein MAGEL2 likely has a role in RNA metabolism


Sanderson MR, Fahlman RP, Wevrick R.

Scientific Notation:

J Biol Chem. 2021 Aug;297(2):100959

Publication Link:


MAGEL2 encodes the L2 member of the melanoma-associated antigen gene (MAGE) protein family, truncating mutations of which can cause Schaaf-Yang syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. MAGEL2 is also inactivated in Prader–Willi syndrome, which overlaps clinically and mechanistically with Schaaf–Yang syndrome. Studies to date have only investigated the C-terminal portion of the MAGEL2 protein, containing the MAGE homology domain that interacts with RING-E3 ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitinases to form protein complexes that modify protein ubiquitination. In contrast, the N-terminal portion of the MAGEL2 protein has never been studied. Here, we find that MAGEL2 has a low-complexity intrinsically disordered N-terminus rich in Pro-Xn-Gly motifs that is predicted to mediate liquid–liquid phase separation to form biomolecular condensates. We used proximity-dependent biotin identification (BioID) and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry to identify MAGEL2-proximal proteins, then clustered these proteins into functional networks. We determined that coding mutations analogous to disruptive mutations in other MAGE proteins alter these networks in biologically relevant ways. Proteins identified as proximal to the N-terminal portion of MAGEL2 are primarily involved in mRNA metabolic processes and include three mRNA N 6-methyladenosine (m6A)-binding YTHDF proteins and two RNA interference-mediating TNRC6 proteins. We found that YTHDF2 coimmunoprecipitates with MAGEL2, and coexpression of MAGEL2 reduces the nuclear accumulation of YTHDF2 after heat shock. We suggest that the N-terminal region of MAGEL2 may have a role in RNA metabolism and in particular the regulation of mRNAs modified by m6A methylation. These results provide mechanistic insight into pathogenic MAGEL2 mutations associated with Schaaf–Yang syndrome and related disorders.

FPWR Grant:

Cellular role of MAGEL2 in Prader-Willi and Schaaf-Yang syndromes