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RNA. 2001 Dec; 7(12): 1768–1780.
PMCID: PMC1370216

NXF1/p15 heterodimers are essential for mRNA nuclear export in Drosophila.


The conserved family of NXF proteins has been implicated in the export of messenger RNAs from the nucleus. In metazoans, NXFs heterodimerize with p15. The yeast genome encodes a single NXF protein (Mex67p), but there are multiple nxf genes in metazoans. Whether metazoan NXFs are functionally redundant, or their multiplication reflects an adaptation to a greater substrate complexity or to tissue-specific requirements has not been established. The Drosophila genome encodes one p15 homolog and four putative NXF proteins (NXF1 to NXF4). Here we show that depletion of the endogenous pools of NXF1 or p15 from Drosophila cells inhibits growth and results in a rapid and robust accumulation of polyadenylated RNAs within the nucleus. Fluorescence in situ hybridizations show that export of both heat-shock and non-heat-shock mRNAs, as well as intron-containing and intronless mRNAs is inhibited. Depleting endogenous NXF2 or NXF3 has no apparent phenotype. Moreover, NXF4 is not expressed at detectable levels in cultured Drosophila cells. We conclude that Dm NXF1/p15 heterodimers only (but not NXF2-NXF4) mediate the export of the majority of mRNAs in Drosophila cells and that the other members of the NXF family play more specialized or different roles.

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Selected References

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