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J Biol Chem. 2005 Jun 10;280(23):21854-7. Epub 2005 Apr 4.

An amino-terminal motif functions as a second nuclear export sequence in BRCA1.

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Department of Biochemistry, Meharry Medical College, 1005 D.B. Todd Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37208, USA.


Mutations in the breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1) account for a substantial percentage of familial breast and ovarian cancers. Although BRCA1 is thought to function within the nucleus, it has also been located in the cytoplasm. In addition, BRCA1 accumulates in the nucleus of cells treated with leptomycin B, an inhibitor of chromosome region maintenance 1-mediated nuclear export, indicative of its active nuclear export via this pathway. The nuclear export signal in BRCA1 has been described as consisting of amino acid residues 81-99. However, a number of other tumor suppressors have multiple nuclear export sequences, and we sought to determine whether BRCA1 did also. Here, we report that BRCA1 contains a second nuclear export sequence that comprises amino acid residues 22-30. By use of the human immunodeficiency virus-1 Rev complementation assay, this sequence was shown to confer export capability to an export-defective Rev fusion protein. The level of export activity was comparable with that of residues 81-99 comprising the previously reported nuclear export sequence in BRCA1. Mutation of leucine 28 to an alanine reduced nuclear export by approximately 75%. In MCF-7 cells stably transfected with a BRCA1 cDNA containing mutations in this novel sequence or the previously reported export sequence, BRCA1 accumulated in the nucleus. These data imply that BRCA1 contains at least two leucine-dependent nuclear export sequences.

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