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Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Apr;25(7):2573-82.

Nuclear export is evolutionarily conserved in CVC paired-like homeobox proteins and influences protein stability, transcriptional activation, and extracellular secretion.

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Georg-Speyer-Haus, Institute for Biomedical Research, Paul-Ehrlich-Str. 42-44, D-60596 Frankfurt, Germany.


Homeodomain transcription factors control a variety of essential cell fate decisions during development. To understand the developmental regulation by these transcription factors, we describe here the molecular analysis of paired-like CVC homeodomain protein (PLC-HDP) trafficking. Complementary experimental approaches demonstrated that PLC-HDP family members are exported by the Crm1 pathway and contain an evolutionary conserved leucine-rich nuclear export signal. Importantly, inactivation of the nuclear export signal enhanced protein stability, resulting in increased transactivation of transfected reporters and decreased extracellular secretion. In addition, PLC-HDPs harbor a conserved active nuclear import signal that could also function as a protein transduction domain. In our study, we characterized PLC-HDPs as mobile nucleocytoplasmic shuttle proteins with the potential for unconventional secretion and intercellular transfer. Nucleocytoplasmic transport may thus represent a conserved control mechanism to fine-tune the transcriptional activity of PLC-HDPs prerequisite for regulating and maintaining the complex expression pattern during development.

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