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Mol Biol Cell. 2011 May 15;22(10):1739-52. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-08-0733. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

Multiple mechanisms actively target the SUN protein UNC-84 to the inner nuclear membrane.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis, Davis CA 95616, USA.


Approximately 100 proteins are targeted to the inner nuclear membrane (INM), where they regulate chromatin and nuclear dynamics. The mechanisms underlying trafficking to the INM are poorly understood. The Caenorhabditis elegans SUN protein UNC-84 is an excellent model to investigate such mechanisms. UNC-84 recruits KASH proteins to the outer nuclear membrane to bridge the nuclear envelope (NE), mediating nuclear positioning. UNC-84 has four targeting sequences: two classical nuclear localization signals, an INM sorting motif, and a signal conserved in mammalian Sun1, the SUN--nuclear envelope localization signal. Mutations in some signals disrupt the timing of UNC-84 nuclear envelope localization, showing that diffusion is not sufficient to move all UNC-84 to the NE. Thus targeting UNC-84 requires an initial step that actively transports UNC-84 from the peripheral endoplasmic reticulum to the NE. Only when all four signals are simultaneously disrupted does UNC-84 completely fail to localize and to function in nuclear migration, meaning that at least three signals function, in part, redundantly to ensure proper targeting of UNC-84. Multiple mechanisms might also be used to target other proteins to the INM, thereby ensuring their proper and timely localization for essential cellular and developmental functions.

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