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Mol Cell Biol. 1998 Feb;18(2):1105-14.

A Ty1 integrase nuclear localization signal required for retrotransposition.

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ABL-Basic Research Program, NCI-Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Maryland 21702-1201, USA.


Ty1 retrotransposition in Saccharomyces cerevisiae requires integrase (IN)-mediated insertion of Ty1 cDNA into the host genome. The transposition components are assembled in the cytoplasm and must cross the nuclear envelope to reach the genomic target, since, unlike animal cell nuclear membranes, the yeast cell nuclear membrane remains intact throughout the cell cycle. We have identified a bipartite nuclear localization signal (NLS) in IN required for Ty1 transposition (Ty1 IN) that directs IN to the nucleus. Mutations in the NLS that specifically abolish nuclear localization inactivate transpositional integration but do not affect reverse transcription, protein processing, or catalytic activity in vitro. No additional Ty1-encoded proteins are required for IN nuclear localization. Intragenic complementation experiments suggest that Ty1 IN functions as a multimer and contains two distinct domains, one required for integration and the other for nuclear localization. Nuclear targeting of the preintegration complex by an IN NLS may prove to be a general strategy used by retrotransposons and retroviruses that infect nondividing cells.

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