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Cell. 1991 Sep 6;66(5):837-47.

Cytosolic proteins that specifically bind nuclear location signals are receptors for nuclear import.

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Department of Cell, Molecular and Structural Biology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois 60611.


We have purified two major polypeptides of 54 and 56 kd from bovine erythrocytes that specifically bind the nuclear location sequence (NLS) of the SV40 large T antigen. When added to a permeabilized cell system for nuclear import, the purified proteins increase by 2- to 3-fold the nuclear accumulation of a fluorescent protein containing the large T antigen NLS. The import stimulation is saturable and dependent upon the presence of cytosol. Nuclear protein accumulation in vitro is sensitive to inactivation by N-ethylmaleimide (NEM). NEM inactivation can be overcome by addition of the purified NLS-binding proteins to the import system. NEM treatment of the purified proteins abolishes their ability to stimulate import but does not affect NLS binding. Our results indicate that the NLS-binding proteins are NEM-sensitive receptors for nuclear import. At least one other NEM-sensitive cytosolic activity and an NEM-insensitive cytosolic activity are also necessary for protein import in vitro.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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