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J Biol Chem. 2003 Aug 22;278(34):32236-45. Epub 2003 Jun 6.

Utp8p is an essential intranuclear component of the nuclear tRNA export machinery of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Guelph-Waterloo Center for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.


A yeast tRNA three-hybrid interaction approach and an in vivo nuclear tRNA export assay based on amber suppression was used to identify proteins that participate in the nuclear tRNA export process in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. One of the proteins identified by this strategy is Utp8p, an essential 80-kDa nucleolar protein that has been implicated in 18 S ribosomal RNA biogenesis. Our characterization indicated that the major function of Utp8p is in nuclear tRNA export. Like the S. cerevisiae Los1p and the mammalian exportin-t, which are proteins known to facilitate nuclear tRNA export, overexpression of Utp8p restored export of tRNAamTyr mutants defective in nuclear export. Furthermore, depletion of Utp8p blocked nuclear export of mature tRNAs derived from both intronless and intron-containing pre-tRNAs but did not affect tRNA and rRNA maturation, nuclear export of mRNA and ribosomes, or nuclear tRNA aminoacylation. Overexpression of Utp8p also alleviated nuclear retention of non-aminoacylated tRNATyr in a tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase mutant strain. Utp8p binds tRNA directly and saturably, indicating that it has a tRNA-binding site. Utp8p does not appear to function as a tRNA export receptor, because it does not shuttle between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Taken together, the results suggest that Utp8p is an essential intranuclear component of the nuclear tRNA export machinery, which may channel tRNA to the various tRNA export pathways operating in S. cerevisiae.

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