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RNA. 2001 Mar;7(3):351-60.

The evolutionarily conserved region of the U snRNA export mediator PHAX is a novel RNA-binding domain that is essential for U snRNA export.

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  • 1European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.


In metazoa, a subset of spliceosomal U snRNAs are exported from the nucleus after transcription. This export occurs in a large complex containing a U snRNA, the nuclear cap binding complex (CBC), the leucine-rich nuclear export signal receptor CRM1/Xpo1, RanGTP, and the recently identified phosphoprotein PHAX (phosphorylated adaptor for RNA export). Previous results indicated that PHAX made direct contact with RNA, CBC, and Xpo1 in the U snRNA export complex. We have now performed a systematic characterization of the functional domains of PHAX. The most evolutionarily conserved region of PHAX is shown to be a novel RNA-binding domain that is essential for U snRNA export. In addition, PHAX contains two major nuclear localization signals (NLSs) that are required for its recycling to the nucleus after export. The interaction domain of PHAX with CBC is at least partly distinct from the RNA-binding domain and the NLSs. Thus, the different interaction domains of PHAX allow it to act as a scaffold for the assembly of U snRNA export complexes.

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