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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jun 25, 1996; 93(13): 6572–6576.
PMCID: PMC39066

The binding site of karyopherin alpha for karyopherin beta overlaps with a nuclear localization sequence.

Abstract

By using proteolysis, recombinant mutant proteins, or synthetic peptides and by testing these reagents in liquid phase binding or nuclear import assays, we have mapped binding regions of karyopherin alpha. We found that the C-terminal region of karyopherin alpha recognizes the nuclear localization sequence (NLS), whereas its N-terminal region binds karyopherin beta. Surprisingly, karyopherin alpha also contains an NLS. Thus, karyopherin alpha belongs to a group of proteins that contain both a ligand (NLS) and a cognate receptor (NLS recognition site) in one molecule with a potential for autologous ligand-receptor interactions. The NLS of karyopherin alpha overlaps with the binding site of karyopherin alpha for karyopherin beta. Hence, binding of karyopherin beta to karyopherin alpha covers the NLS of karyopherin alpha. This prevents autologous ligand receptor interactions and explains the observed cooperative binding of karyopherin alpha to a heterologous NLS protein in the presence of karyopherin beta.

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Selected References

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