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Eur J Biochem. 2001 Oct;268(20):5337-42.

The C-terminal half of Hsp90 is responsible for its cytoplasmic localization.

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Graduate School of Biomedicine, Department of Cell Biology, Medical School, University of Tampere, Finland.


With some exceptions, research so far has shown heat shock protein (Hsp) 90 to be a cytoplasmic protein. Here, we studied the sequence determinants which dictate the subcellular localization of Hsp90. By constructing hybrid molecules between a nuclear protein, progesterone receptor (PR), and parts of Hsp90, we demonstrated that the C-terminal but not the N-terminal half of Hsp90 can prevent nuclear translocation of the PR. Studies with an antibody raised against a region which contains the major nuclear localization signal (NLS) of the PR suggest that the inhibition of nuclear localization is not due to steric hindrance of the NLS of the PR by Hsp90 sequences in hybrid molecules. In order to characterize further the cytoplasmic anchoring of Hsp90 we constructed four chimeric molecules between the C-terminal half of Hsp90 and estrogen receptor (ER) with different numbers of nuclear localization protosignals (proto-NLS). When the C-terminal half of Hsp90 was fused with ER containing no or one proto-NLS, the hybrid molecule was located exclusively in the cytoplasm. When the nuclear translocation signal was strengthened by adding two or three protosignals, the hybrid molecule was exclusively nuclear. These results suggest that the C-terminal half of Hsp90 contains a sequence which is responsible for the cytoplasmic localization of the protein. Further deletions of the molecule suggested that the cytoplasmic anchoring signal is located between amino acids 333 and 664.

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