RAE1 Is a Shuttling mRNA Export Factor That Binds to a GLEBS-like NUP98 Motif at the Nuclear Pore Complex through Multiple Domains

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Gle2p is implicated in nuclear export of poly(A)+ RNA and nuclear pore complex (NPC) structure and distribution in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Gle2p is anchored at the nuclear envelope (NE) via a short Gle2p-binding motif within Nup116p called GLEBS. The molecular mechanism by which Gle2p and the Gle2p-Nup116p interaction function in mRNA export is unknown. Here we show that RAE1, the mammalian homologue of Gle2p, binds to a GLEBS-like NUP98 motif at the NPC through multiple domains that include WD-repeats and a COOH-terminal non-WD-repeat extension. This interaction is direct, as evidenced by in vitro binding studies and chemical cross-linking. Microinjection experiments performed in Xenopus laevis oocytes demonstrate that RAE1 shuttles between the nucleus and the cytoplasm and is exported from the nucleus in a temperature-dependent and RanGTP-independent manner. Docking of RAE1 to the NE is highly dependent on new mRNA synthesis. Overexpression of the GLEBS-like motif also inhibits NE binding of RAE1 and induces nuclear accumulation of poly(A)+ RNA. Both effects are abrogated either by the introduction of point mutations in the GLEBS-like motif or by overexpression of RAE1, indicating a direct role for RAE1 and the NUP98-RAE1 interaction in mRNA export. Together, our data suggest that RAE1 is a shuttling transport factor that directly contributes to nuclear export of mRNAs through its ability to anchor to a specific NUP98 motif at the NPC.

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