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J Virol. 2006 Oct;80(20):10021-35.

Characterization of a novel transferable CRM-1-independent nuclear export signal in a herpesvirus tegument protein that shuttles between the nucleus and cytoplasm.

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Virus Assembly Group, Marie Curie Research Institute, Oxted, United Kingdom.


A new group of nucleocytoplasmic shuttling proteins has recently been identified in the structural proteins encoded by several alphaherpesvirus UL47 genes. Nuclear import and export signals for the bovine herpesvirus type 1 UL47 protein (VP8 or bUL47) have been described previously. Here, we study the trafficking of bUL47 in detail and identify an import signal different from that shown before. It comprises a 20-residue N-terminal peptide that is fully transferable and targets a large, normally cytosolic protein to the nucleus. A conserved RRPRRS motif within this peptide was shown to be essential but not sufficient for nuclear targeting. Using interspecies heterokaryon assays, we further demonstrate that the export activity of the published leucine-rich nuclear export signal (NES) is also transferable to a large protein but is functionally weak compared to the activity of the HIV-1 Rev NES. We show that nuclear export dictated by this bUL47 NES is sensitive to leptomycin B (LMB) and therefore dependent on the export receptor CRM-1. However, nuclear export of full-length bUL47 is fully resistant to LMB, suggesting the presence of an additional NES. We go on to identify a second NES in bUL47 within a 28-residue peptide that is in close proximity to but entirely separable from the N-terminal import signal, and we use fluorescence loss in photobleaching to confirm its activity. This NES is resistant to leptomycin B, and therefore utilizes an export receptor other than CRM-1. As this new sequence bears little similarity to other export signals so far defined, we suggest it may be involved in bUL47 export from the nucleus via a novel cellular receptor.

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