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J Biol Chem. 2005 Feb 11;280(6):4313-20. Epub 2004 Nov 24.

Nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling of Id2, a negative regulator of basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, University of Fukui, 23-3, Shimoaizuki, Matsuoka, Fukui 910-1193, Japan.


Id proteins function as negative regulators for basic helix-loop-helix transcriptional factors that play important roles in cell fate determination. They preferentially associate with ubiquitously expressed E proteins of the basic helix-loop-helix family and prevent them from binding to DNA and activating transcription. Although their small size suggests that Id proteins enter and exit the nucleus by passive diffusion, several studies have indicated that other pathways may regulate their subcellular localization. In this study, we obtained evidence that Id2 has the ability to shuttle between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. When passive diffusion was prevented by fusion with green fluorescent protein (GFP), Id2 was predominantly localized in the cytoplasm. Using GFP fusion constructs, we demonstrated that the C-terminal region is required for cytoplasmic localization. Nuclear accumulation of GFP-Id2 in cells treated with the nuclear export inhibitor leptomycin B suggests that the nuclear export receptor chromosome region maintenance protein 1 mediates the cytoplasmic localization of Id2. Id2 contains two putative leucine-rich nuclear export signals, and the nuclear export signal in the C-terminal region is essential for nuclear export. On the other hand, the helix-loop-helix domain is important for nuclear localization. Finally, experiments using reporter assays revealed an inverse correlation between nuclear export and transcriptional repression via the E-box sequence. Based on all these findings, we propose that nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling is a novel mechanism for the regulation of Id2 function.

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