The fragile X-related proteins FXR1P and FXR2P contain a functional nucleolar-targeting signal equivalent to the HIV-1 regulatory proteins

Hum Mol Genet. 2000 Jun 12;9(10):1487-93. doi: 10.1093/hmg/9.10.1487.


Fragile X syndrome is caused by the absence of the fragile X mental-retardation protein (FMRP). FMRP and the fragile X-related proteins 1 and 2 (FXR1P and FXR2P) form a gene family with functional similarities, such as RNA binding, polyribosomal association and nucleocytoplasmic shuttling. In a previous study, we found that FMRP and FXR1P shuttle between cytoplasm and nucleoplasm, while FXR2P shuttles between cytoplasm and nucleolus. The nuclear and nucleolar-targeting properties of these proteins were investigated further. Here, we show that FXR2P contains in its C-terminal part, a stretch of basic amino acids 'RPQRRNRSRRRRFR' that resemble the nucleolar-targeting signal (NoS) of the viral protein Rev. This particular sequence is also present within exon 15 of the FXR1 gene. This exon undergoes alternative splicing and is therefore only present in some of the FXR1P isoforms. We investigated the intracellular distribution of various FXR1P isoforms with (iso-e and iso-f) and without (iso-d) the potential NoS in transfected COS cells treated with the nuclear export inhibitor leptomycin-B. Both iso-e and iso-f showed a nucleolar localization, as observed for FXR2P; iso-d was detected in the nucleo-plasm outside the nucleoli. Further, when a labelled 16-residue synthetic peptide corresponding to the NoS of FXR1P was added to human fibroblast cultures a clear nucleolar signal was observed. Based on these data we argue that the intranuclear distribution of FXR2P and FXR1P isoforms is very likely to be mediated by a similar NoS localized in their C-terminal region. This domain is absent in some FXR1P isoforms as well as in all FMRP isoforms, suggesting functional differences for this family of proteins, possibly related to RNA metabolism in different tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acids
  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Blotting, Western
  • COS Cells
  • Carrier Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cell Nucleolus / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Fragile X Syndrome / genetics*
  • Gene Products, rev / chemistry
  • Gene Products, rev / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Karyopherins*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transfection


  • Amino Acids
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Carrier Proteins
  • FXR1 protein, human
  • FXR2 protein, human
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Gene Products, rev
  • Karyopherins
  • Peptides
  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • exportin 1 protein
  • leptomycin B