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J Cell Biol. 1999 Jun 14;145(6):1145-52.

Transportin-SR, a nuclear import receptor for SR proteins.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6148, USA.


The SR proteins, a group of abundant arginine/serine (RS)-rich proteins, are essential pre-mRNA splicing factors that are localized in the nucleus. The RS domain of these proteins serves as a nuclear localization signal. We found that RS domain-bearing proteins do not utilize any of the known nuclear import receptors and identified a novel nuclear import receptor specific for SR proteins. The SR protein import receptor, termed transportin-SR (TRN-SR), binds specifically and directly to the RS domains of ASF/SF2 and SC35 as well as several other SR proteins. The nuclear transport regulator RanGTP abolishes this interaction. Recombinant TRN-SR mediates nuclear import of RS domain- bearing proteins in vitro. TRN-SR has amino acid sequence similarity to several members of the importin beta/transportin family. These findings strongly suggest that TRN-SR is a nuclear import receptor for the SR protein family.

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