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Virologica Sinica, 25 (2) : 79, 2010
The Nucleocytoplasmic Transport of Viral Proteins
State Key Laboratory, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430071, China
Molecules can enter the nucleus by passive diffusion or active transport mechanisms, depending on their size. Small molecules up to size of 50-60 kDa or less than 10 nm in diameter can diffuse passively through the nuclear pore complex (NPC), while most proteins are transported by energy driven transport mechanisms. Active transport of viral proteins is mediated by nuclear localization signals (NLS), which were first identified in Simian Virus 40 large T antigen and had subsequently been identified in a large number of viral proteins. Usually they contain short stretches of lysine or arginine residues. These signals are recognized by the importin super-family (importin α and β) proteins that mediate the transport across the nuclear envelope through Ran-GTP. In contrast, only one class of the leucine-rich nuclear export signal (NES) on viral proteins is known at present. Chromosome region maintenance 1 (CRM1) protein mediates nuclear export of hundreds of viral proteins through the recognition of the leucine-rich NES.
  Published online: 5 Apr 2010
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