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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jun 23;95(13):7457-62.

Nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling of C-ABL tyrosine kinase.

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Department of Biology, Center for Molecular Genetics and the Cancer Center, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla CA 92093-0322, USA.


The ubiquitously expressed nonreceptor tyrosine kinase c-Abl contains three nuclear localization signals, however, it is found in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm of proliferating fibroblasts. A rapid and transient loss of c-Abl from the nucleus is observed upon the initial adhesion of fibroblasts onto a fibronectin matrix, suggesting the possibility of nuclear export [Lewis, J., Baskaran, R. , Taagepera, S., Schwartz, M. & Wang, J. (1996) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93, 15174-15179]. Here we show that the C terminus of c-Abl does indeed contain a functional nuclear export signal (NES) with the characteristic leucine-rich motif. The c-Abl NES can functionally complement an NES-defective HIV Rev protein (RevDelta3NI) and can mediate the nuclear export of glutathione-S-transferase. The c-Abl NES function is sensitive to the nuclear export inhibitor leptomycin B. Mutation of a single leucine (L1064A) in the c-Abl NES abrogates export function. The NES-mutated c-Abl, termed c-Abl NES(-), is localized exclusively to the nucleus. Treatment of cells with leptomycin B also leads to the nuclear accumulation of wild-type c-Abl protein. The c-Abl NES(-) is not lost from the nucleus when detached fibroblasts are replated onto fibronectin matrix. Taken together, these results demonstrate that c-Abl shuttles continuously between the nucleus and the cytoplasm and that the rate of nuclear import and export can be modulated by the adherence status of fibroblastic cells.

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