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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Nuclear import of Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 1 mediated by NPI-1 (Importin alpha5) is up- and down-regulated by phosphorylation of the nuclear localization signal for which Lys379 and Arg380 are essential.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen 1 ( EBNA-1) is essential for replication of episomal EBV DNAs and maintenance of latency. Multifunctional EBNA-1 is phosphorylated, but the significance of EBNA-1 phosphorylation is not known. Here, we examined the effects on nuclear translocation of Ser phosphorylation of the EBNA-1 nuclear localization signal (NLS) sequence, 379Lys-Arg-Pro-Arg-Ser-Pro-Ser-Ser386. We found that Lys379Ala and Arg380Ala substitutions greatly reduced nuclear transport and steady-state levels of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-EBNA1, whereas Pro381Ala, Arg382Ala, Pro384Ala, and Glu378Ala substitutions did not. Microinjection of modified EBNA-1 NLS peptide-inserted proteins and NLS peptides cross- linked to bovine serum albumin ( BSA) showed that Ala substitution for three NLS Ser residues reduced the efficiency of nuclear import. Similar microinjection analyses demonstrated that phosphorylation of Ser385 accelerated the rate of nuclear import, but phosphorylation of Ser383 and Ser386 reduced it. However, transfection analyses of GFP-EBNA1 mutants with the Ser-to-Ala substitution causing reduced nuclear import efficiency did not result in a decrease in the nuclear accumulation level of EBNA-1. The results suggest dynamic nuclear transport control of phosphorylated EBNA-1 proteins, although the nuclear localization level of EBNA-1 that binds to cellular chromosomes and chromatin seems unchanged. The karyopherin alpha NPI-1 (importin alpha5), a nuclear import adaptor, bound more strongly to Ser385-phosphorylated NLS than to any other phosphorylated or nonphosphorylated forms. Rch1 (importin alpha1) bound only weakly and Qip1 (importin alpha3) did not bind to the Ser385-phosphorylated NLS. These findings suggest that the amino-terminal 379Lys-Arg380 is essential for the EBNA-1 NLS and that Ser385 phosphorylation up-regulates nuclear transport efficiency of EBNA-1 by increasing its binding affinity to NPI-1, while phosphorylation of Ser386 and Ser383 down-regulates it.[1]


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