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J Biol Chem. 2002 Dec 6;277(49):46864-70. Epub 2002 Sep 25.

Complex nuclear localization signals in the matrix protein of vesicular stomatitis virus.

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Department of Biomolecular Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1532, USA.


The matrix (M) protein of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) functions from within the nucleus to inhibit bi-directional nucleocytoplasmic transport. Here, we show that M protein can be imported into the nucleus by an active transport mechanism, even though it is small enough (approximately 27 kDa) to diffuse through nuclear pore complexes. We map two distinct nuclear localization signal (NLS)-containing regions of M protein, each of which is capable of directing the nuclear localization of a heterologous protein. One of these regions, comprising amino acids 47-229, is also sufficient to inhibit nucleocytoplasmic transport. Two amino acids that are conserved among the matrix proteins of vesiculoviruses are important for nuclear localization, but are not essential for the inhibitory activity of M protein. Thus, different regions of M protein function for nuclear localization and for inhibitory activity.

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