We have investigated a possible involvement of GTPases in nuclear protein import using an in vitro transport system involving digitonin-permeabilized cells supplemented with exogenous cytosol. Transport in this system was measured with a novel ELISA-based assay that allows rapid quantitative analysis. GTPγS and other nonhydrolyzable analogues of GTP were found to rapidly inhibit the rate of in vitro nuclear import. Transport inhibition by GTPγS was dependent on the concentrations of permeabilized cells and cytosol, and was strongly enhanced by a cytosolic factor(s). The predominant cytosolic component responsible for this inhibition was found in a 20-30-kD fraction in molecular sieving chromatography. Furthermore, a component(s) of this 20-30-kD fraction was itself required for efficient nuclear import. Biochemical complementation with bacterially expressed protein demonstrated that this essential GTPγS-sensitive transport factor was Ran/TC4, a previously described GTPase of the Ras superfamily found in both nucleus and cytoplasm. Ran/TC4 and its guanine nucleotide release protein RCC1 have previously been implicated in DNA replication, cell cycle checkpoint control, and RNA synthesis, processing and export. Our results suggest that Ran/TC4 serves to integrate nuclear protein import with these other nuclear activities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology