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Genes Dev. 1996 Jul 15;10(14):1812-21.

Nuclear localization of the Arabidopsis APETALA3 and PISTILLATA homeotic gene products depends on their simultaneous expression.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Osborn Memorial Laboratories, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8104, USA.

Erratum in

  • Genes Dev 1996 Sep 1;10(17):2235.


The Arabidopsis APETALA3 (AP3) and PISTILLATA (PI) proteins are thought to act as transcription factors and are required for specifying floral organ identities. To define the nuclear localization signals within these proteins, we generated translational fusions of the coding regions of AP3 and PI to the bacterial uidA gene that encodes beta-glucuronidase (GUS). Transient transformation assays of either the AP3-GUS or PI-GUS fusion protein alone resulted in cytoplasmic localization of GUS activity. However, coexpression of AP3-GUS with PI, or PI-GUS with AP3, resulted in nuclear localization of GUS activity. Stable transformation with these fusion proteins in Arabidopsis showed similar results. The nuclear colocalization signals in AP3 and PI were mapped to the amino-terminal regions of each protein. These observations suggest that the interaction of the AP3 and PI gene products results in the formation of a protein complex that generates or exposes a colocalization signal required to translocate the resulting complex into the nucleus. The colocalization phenomenon that we have described represents a novel mechanism to coordinate the functions of transcription factors within the nucleus.

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