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J Biol Chem. 2002 Oct 4;277(40):37693-701. Epub 2002 Aug 6.

Differential nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of beta-arrestins. Characterization of a leucine-rich nuclear export signal in beta-arrestin2.

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Department of Cell Biology, Institut Cochin, Pavillon Gustave Roussy, 75679 Paris CEDEX 14, France.


beta-arrestins (betaarrs) are two highly homologous proteins that uncouple G protein-coupled receptors from their cognate G proteins, serve as adaptor molecules linking G protein-coupled receptors to clathrin-coat components (AP-2 complex and clathrin), and act as scaffolding proteins for ERK1/2 and JNK3 cascades. A striking difference between the two betaarrs (betaarr1 and betaarr2) is that betaarr1 is evenly distributed throughout the cell, whereas betaarr2 shows an apparent cytoplasmic localization at steady state. Here, we investigate the molecular determinants underlying this differential distribution. betaarr2 is constitutively excluded from the nucleus by a leptomycin B-sensitive pathway because of the presence of a classical leucine-rich nuclear export signal in its C terminus (L395/L397) that is absent in betaarr1. In addition, using a nuclear import assay in yeast we showed that betaarr2 is actively imported into the nucleus, suggesting that betaarr2 undergoes constitutive nucleocytoplasmic shuttling. In cells expressing betaarr2, JNK3 is mostly cytosolic. A point mutation of the nuclear export signal (L395A) in betaarr2, which was sufficient to redistribute betaarr2 from the cytosol to the nucleus, also caused the nuclear relocalization of JNK3. These data indicate that the nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of betaarr2 controls the subcellular distribution of JNK3.

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