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J Virol. Feb 1995; 69(2): 1071–1078.
PMCID: PMC188678

Nuclear targeting of the tegument protein pp65 (UL83) of human cytomegalovirus: an unusual bipartite nuclear localization signal functions with other portions of the protein to mediate its efficient nuclear transport.


Large amounts of pp65 (UL83) of human cytomegalovirus are translocated to the cell nucleus during the first minutes after uptake of the tegument protein from infecting viral particles. Two stretches of basic amino acids which resembled nuclear localization signals (NLS) of both the simian virus 40 type and the bipartite type were found in the primary structure of pp65. Deletion of these sequences significantly impaired nuclear localization of the truncated proteins after transient expression. The results indicated that both elements contributed to the nuclear localization of the protein. When fused to the bacterial beta-galactosidase, only one of the two basic elements was sufficient to mediate nuclear translocation. This element consisted of two clusters of basic amino acids (boxes C and D), which were separated by a short spacer sequence. In contrast to other bipartite NLS of animal cells, both basic boxes C and D functioned independently in nuclear transport, thus resembling simian virus 40-type NLS. Yet, complete translocation of beta-galactosidase was only found in the bipartite configuration. When both boxes C and D were fused, thereby deleting the intervening sequences, the nuclear transport of beta-galactosidase was reduced to levels seen with constructs in which only one of the boxes was present. Appropriate spacing, therefore, was important but not absolutely required. This was in contrast with results for other bipartite NLS, in which spacer deletions led to complete cytoplasmic retention. The presented results demonstrate that efficient nuclear transport of pp65 is mediated by one dominant NLS and additional targeting sequences. The major NLS of pp65 is an unusual signal sequence composed of two weak NLS which function together as one strong bipartite nuclear targeting signal.

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Selected References

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