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Mol Biol Cell. 1996 Nov;7(11):1835-55.

Nuclear transport defects and nuclear envelope alterations are associated with mutation of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae NPL4 gene.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, New Jersey 08544, USA.


To identify components involved in nuclear protein import, we used a genetic selection to isolate mutants that mislocalized a nuclear-targeted protein. We identified temperature-sensitive mutants that accumulated several different nuclear proteins in the cytoplasm when shifted to the semipermissive temperature of 30 degrees C; these were termed npl (nuclear protein localization) mutants. We now present the properties of yeast strains bearing mutations in the NPL4 gene and report the cloning of the NPL4 gene and the characterization of the Np14 protein. The npl4-1 mutant was isolated by the previously described selection scheme. The second allele, npl4-2, was identified from an independently derived collection of temperature-sensitive mutants. The npl4-1 and npl4-2 strains accumulate nuclear-targeted proteins in the cytoplasm at the nonpermissive temperature consistent with a defect in nuclear protein import. Using an in vitro nuclear import assay, we show that nuclei prepared from temperature-shifted npl4 mutant cells are unable to import nuclear-targeted proteins, even in the presence of cytosol prepared from wild-type cells. In addition, npl4-2 cells accumulate poly(A)+ RNA in the nucleus at the nonpermissive temperature, consistent with a failure to export mRNA from the nucleus. The npl4-1 and npl4-2 cells also exhibit distinct, temperature-sensitive structural defects: npl4-1 cells project extra nuclear envelope into the cytoplasm, whereas npl4-2 cells from nuclear envelope herniations that appear to be filled with poly(A)+ RNA. The NPL4 gene encodes an essential M(r) 64,000 protein that is located at the nuclear periphery and localizes in a pattern similar to nuclear pore complex proteins. Taken together, these results indicate that this gene encodes a novel nuclear pore complex or nuclear pore complex-associated component required for nuclear membrane integrity and nuclear transport.

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