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Plant Cell. 1999 Jul;11(7):1267-76.

Nuclear export in plants. Use of geminivirus movement proteins for a cell-based export assay.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


The nuclear export of proteins and RNAs has been studied in heterokaryons or by microinjecting test substrates into nuclei of HeLa cells or Xenopus oocytes. We have previously shown that the two movement proteins BR1 and BL1 encoded by the plant pathogenic squash leaf curl virus act in a coordinated manner to facilitate virus cell-to-cell movement and that one of these (BR1) is a nuclear shuttle protein. By using a novel in vivo cell-based assay for nuclear export in which nuclear-localized BR1 is trapped by BL1 and redirected to the cortical cytoplasm, we demonstrate that residues 177 to 198 of BR1 contain a leucine-rich nuclear export signal (NES) of the type found in the Rev protein encoded by the human immunodeficiency virus and in Xenopus TFIIIA. We further show that the TFIIIA NES can functionally replace the NES of BR1 in both nuclear export and viral infectivity. These findings suggest that this basic pathway for nuclear export is highly conserved among plant and animal cells and in yeast.

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