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EMBO J. 1997 Jul 16;16(14):4276-84.

Nuclear export of the E1B 55-kDa and E4 34-kDa adenoviral oncoproteins mediated by a rev-like signal sequence.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Princeton University, NJ 08544-1014, USA.


The E1B 55-kDa and E4 34-kDa oncoproteins of adenovirus type 5 (abbreviated here as E1B-55kD and E4-34kD) promote the export of viral mRNA and inhibit the export of most cellular mRNA species. We show that the intracellular complex containing E1B-55kD and E4-34kD continuously shuttles between the nucleus and the cytoplasm, and may thus serve as a nucleocytoplasmic transporter for viral mRNA. We present evidence that within this complex, it is the E4-34kD protein that directs both nuclear import and nuclear export. E4-34kD contains a functional nuclear export signal similar to corresponding sequences found in the retroviral proteins rev and rex. This sequence element is required for nuclear export of the complex, and it can function autonomously when fused to a carrier protein and microinjected in HeLa cell nuclei. When E4-34kD is expressed alone, a portion of the protein that contains a predicted arginine-rich amphipathic alpha-helical structure mediates nuclear retention of the protein. This retention, however, can be abolished by the association with E1B-55kD or by a specific point mutation within the arginine-rich motif. The export of E4-34kD can be blocked by an HTLV-rex derived competitive inhibitor and overexpressed E4-34kD inhibits rev-mediated transport, suggesting that the export pathways accessed by the adenoviral and retroviral proteins share components. The interplay between two polypeptides as well as the involvement of a dominant nuclear retention domain are novel features that might contribute to the efficiency and regulation of the adenovirus export system.

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