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BMC Genomics. 2001;2:8. Epub 2001 Nov 6.

Cloning, expression and nuclear localization of human NPM3, a member of the nucleophosmin/nucleoplasmin family of nuclear chaperones.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Southern California, CA, USA.



Studies suggest that the related proteins nucleoplasmin and nucleophosmin (also called B23, NO38 or numatrin) are nuclear chaperones that mediate the assembly of nucleosomes and ribosomes, respectively, and that these activities are accomplished through the binding of basic proteins via their acidic domains. Recently discovered and less well characterized members of this family of acidic phosphoproteins include mouse nucleophosmin/nucleoplasmin 3 (Npm3) and Xenopus NO29. Here we report the cloning and initial characterization of the human ortholog of Npm3.


Human genomic and cDNA clones of NPM3 were isolated and sequenced. NPM3 lies 5.5 kb upstream of FGF8 and thus maps to chromosome 10q24-26. In addition to amino acid similarities, NPM3 shares many physical characteristics with the nucleophosmin/nucleoplasmin family, including an acidic domain, multiple potential phosphorylation sites and a putative nuclear localization signal. Comparative analyses of 14 members of this family from various metazoans suggest that Xenopus NO29 is a candidate ortholog of human and mouse NPM3, and they further group both proteins closer with the nucleoplasmins than with the nucleophosmins. Northern blot analysis revealed that NPM3 was strongly expressed in all 16 human tissues examined, with especially robust expression in pancreas and testis; lung displayed the lowest level of expression. An analysis of subcellular fractions of NIH3T3 cells expressing epitope-tagged NPM3 revealed that NPM3 protein was localized solely in the nucleus.


Human NPM3 is an abundant and widely expressed protein with primarily nuclear localization. These biological activities, together with its physical relationship to the chaparones nucleoplasmin and nucleophosmin, are consistent with the proposed function of NPM3 as a molecular chaperone functioning in the nucleus.


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