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J Immunol. 2003 Jan 15;170(2):922-30.

The GTP-binding domain of class II transactivator regulates its nuclear export.

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Experimental Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The transcriptional coactivator class II transactivator (CIITA), although predominantly localized in the nucleus, is also present in the cytoplasm. The subcellular distribution of CIITA is actively regulated by the opposing actions of nuclear export and import. In this study, we show that nuclear export is negatively regulated by the GTP-binding domain (GBD; aa 421-561) of CIITA: mutation or deletion of the GBD markedly increased export of CIITA from the nucleus. Remarkably, a CIITA GBD mutant binds CRM1/exportin significantly better than does wild-type CIITA, leading to the conclusion that GTP is a negative regulator of CIITA nuclear export. We also report that, in addition to the previously characterized N- and C-terminal nuclear localization signal elements, there is an additional N-terminal nuclear localization activity, present between aa 209 and 222, which overlaps the proline/serine/threonine-rich domain of CIITA. Thus, fine-tuning of the nucleocytoplasmic distribution of coactivator proteins involved in transcription is an active and dynamic process that defines a novel mechanism for controlling gene regulation.

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