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Mol Cell. 2005 Apr 29;18(3):355-67.

The structure of the nuclear export receptor Cse1 in its cytosolic state reveals a closed conformation incompatible with cargo binding.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany.


Cse1 mediates nuclear export of importin alpha, the nuclear localization signal (NLS) import adaptor. We report the 3.1 A resolution structure of cargo-free Cse1, representing this HEAT repeat protein in its cytosolic state. Cse1 is compact, consisting of N- and C-terminal arches that interact to form a ring. Comparison with the structure of cargo-bound Cse1 shows a major conformational change leading to opening of the structure upon cargo binding. The largest structural changes occur within a hinge region centered at HEAT repeat 8. This repeat contains a conserved insertion that connects the RanGTP and importin alpha contact sites and that is essential for binding. In the cargo-free state, the RanGTP binding sites are occluded and the importin alpha sites are distorted. Mutations that destabilize the N- to C-terminal interaction uncouple importin alpha and Ran binding, suggesting that the closed conformation prevents association with importin alpha.

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