Shuttling of CTP:Phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase between the nucleus and endoplasmic reticulum accompanies the wave of phosphatidylcholine synthesis during the G(0) --> G(1) transition.

The transition from quiescence (G(0)) into the cell division cycle is marked by accelerated phospholipid turnover. We examined the rates of phosphatidylcholine (PC) synthesis and the activity, membrane affinity, and intracellular localization of the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of PC, CTP:phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase (CT) during this transition. The addition of serum to quiescent IIC9 fibroblasts resulted in a wave of PC synthesis beginning at approximately 10 min, peaking at approximately 3 h with a >10-fold increase in rate, and declining to near basal rates by 10 h. CT activity, monitored in situ, was elevated approximately 3-fold between 1 and 2 h postserum. Neither CT mass nor its phosphorylation state changed during the surge in PC synthesis and CT activity. On the other hand, the ratio of particulate/soluble CT surged and then receded in concert with the wave of PC synthesis. During quiescence, CT was confined to the nucleus, as assessed by indirect immunofluorescence. Within 10 min after serum stimulation, a portion of the CT fluorescence appeared in the cytoplasm, where it intensified until approximately 4 h postserum. Thereafter, the cytoplasmic CT signal waned, while the nuclear signal increased, and by 8 h CT was once again predominantly nuclear. The dynamics of CT's apparent translocation in and out of the nucleus paralleled the wave of PC synthesis and the solubility changes of CT. Cytoplasmic CT co-localized with BiP, a resident endoplasmic reticulum protein, in a double labeling experiment. These data suggest that the wave of PC synthesis that accompanies the G(0) --> G(1) transition is regulated by the coordinated changes in CT activity, membrane affinity, and intracellular distribution. We describe for the first time a redistribution of CT from the nucleus to the ER that correlates with an activation of the enzyme. We propose that this movement is required for the stimulation of PC synthesis during entry into the cell cycle.