Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS Genet. 2015 Feb 12;11(2):e1004974. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004974. eCollection 2015 Feb.

Drosophila TIM binds importin α1, and acts as an adapter to transport PER to the nucleus.

Author information

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
Laboratory of Genetics, The Rockefeller University, New York, New York, United States of America.


Regulated nuclear entry of clock proteins is a conserved feature of eukaryotic circadian clocks and serves to separate the phase of mRNA activation from mRNA repression in the molecular feedback loop. In Drosophila, nuclear entry of the clock proteins, PERIOD (PER) and TIMELESS (TIM), is tightly controlled, and impairments of this process produce profound behavioral phenotypes. We report here that nuclear entry of PER-TIM in clock cells, and consequently behavioral rhythms, require a specific member of a classic nuclear import pathway, Importin α1 (IMPα1). In addition to IMPα1, rhythmic behavior and nuclear expression of PER-TIM require a specific nuclear pore protein, Nup153, and Ran-GTPase. IMPα1 can also drive rapid and efficient nuclear expression of TIM and PER in cultured cells, although the effect on PER is mediated by TIM. Mapping of interaction domains between IMPα1 and TIM/PER suggests that TIM is the primary cargo for the importin machinery. This is supported by attenuated interaction of IMPα1 with TIM carrying a mutation previously shown to prevent nuclear entry of TIM and PER. TIM is detected at the nuclear envelope, and computational modeling suggests that it contains HEAT-ARM repeats typically found in karyopherins, consistent with its role as a co-transporter for PER. These findings suggest that although PER is the major timekeeper of the clock, TIM is the primary target of nuclear import mechanisms. Thus, the circadian clock uses specific components of the importin pathway with a novel twist in that TIM serves a karyopherin-like role for PER.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center