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J Cell Sci. 1998 Sep;111 ( Pt 17):2615-23.

Distinct domains of a nucleolar protein mediate protein kinase binding, interaction with nucleic acids and nucleolar localization.

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  • 1Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


Nopp44/46 is a phosphoprotein of the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei that is localized to the nucleolus. Based on the primary sequence, Nopp44/46 appears to be a protein composed of distinct domains. This communication describes the relationship of these domains to the known functional interactions of the molecule and suggests that the amino-terminal region defines a novel homology region that functions in nucleolar targeting. We have previously shown that Nopp44/46 is capable of interacting with nucleic acids and associating with a protein kinase. Using in vitro transcription and translation, we now demonstrate that the nucleic acid binding function maps to the carboxy-terminal domain of the molecule, a region rich in arginine-glycine-glycine motifs. Our experiments reveal that a central region containing a high proportion of acidic residues is required for association with the protein kinase. Analysis of transfectants expressing epitope-tagged Nopp44/46 deletion constructs showed that the amino-terminal 96 amino acids allowed nuclear and nucleolar accumulation of the protein. This region of the molecule shows homology to several recently described nucleolar proteins. Deletion of a 27-amino-acid region within this domain abrogated nucleolar, but not nuclear, localization. These studies show that Nopp44/46 is composed of distinct modules, each of which plays a different role in molecular interactions. We suggest that this protein could facilitate interactions between sets of nucleolar molecules.

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