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PLoS One. 2014 Feb 20;9(2):e88887. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088887. eCollection 2014.

Importin 7 and Nup358 promote nuclear import of the protein component of human telomerase.

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Institute of Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


In actively dividing eukaryotic cells, chromosome ends (telomeres) are subject to progressive shortening, unless they are maintained by the action of telomerase, a dedicated enzyme that adds DNA sequence repeats to chromosomal 3'end. For its enzymatic function on telomeres, telomerase requires nuclear import of its protein component (hTERT in human cells) and assembly with the RNA component, TERC. We now confirm a major nuclear localization signal (NLS) in the N-terminal region of hTERT and describe a novel one in the C-terminal part. Using an siRNA approach to deplete several import receptors, we identify importin 7 as a soluble nuclear transport factor that is required for efficient import. At the level of the nuclear pore complex (NPC), Nup358, a nucleoporin that forms the cytoplasmic filaments of the NPC, plays an important role in nuclear import of hTERT. A structure-function analysis of Nup358 revealed that the zinc finger region of the nucleoporin is of particular importance for transport of hTERT. Together, our study sheds light on the nuclear import pathway of hTERT.

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