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J Biol Chem. 2002 Sep 27;277(39):36399-407. Epub 2002 Jun 24.

The interdomain region of dengue NS5 protein that binds to the viral helicase NS3 contains independently functional importin beta 1 and importin alpha/beta-recognized nuclear localization signals.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, James Cook University, Queensland 4811, Australia.


Dengue virus NS5 protein is a multifunctional RNA-dependent RNA polymerase that is essential for virus replication. We have shown previously that the 37- amino acid interdomain spacer sequence (residues (369)X(2)KKX(14)KKKX(11)RKX(3)405) of Dengue2 NS5 contains a functional nuclear localization signal (NLS). In this study, beta-galactosidase fusion proteins carrying point mutations of the positively charged residues or truncations of the interdomain linker region (residues 369-389 or residues 386-405) were analyzed for nuclear import and importin binding activities to show that the N-terminal part of the linker region (residues 369-389, a/bNLS) is critical for nuclear localization and is recognized with high affinity by the conventional NLS-binding importin alpha/beta heterodimeric nuclear import receptor. We also show that the importin beta-binding site (residues 320-368, bNLS) adjacent to the a/bNLS, previously identified by yeast two-hybrid analysis, is functional as an NLS, recognized with high affinity by importin beta, and able to target beta-galactosidase to the nucleus. Intriguingly, the bNLS is highly conserved among Dengue and related flaviviruses, implying a general role for the region and importin beta in the infectious cycle.

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