Plant-specific mitotic targeting of RanGAP requires a functional WPP domain

Plant J. 2005 Apr;42(2):270-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2005.02368.x.


The small GTPase Ran is involved in nucleocytoplasmic transport, spindle formation, nuclear envelope (NE) formation, and cell-cycle control. In vertebrates, these functions are controlled by a three-dimensional gradient of Ran-GTP to Ran-GDP, established by the spatial separation of Ran GTPase-activating protein (RanGAP) and the Ran guanine nucleotide exchange factor RCC1. While this spatial separation is established by the NE during interphase, it is orchestrated during mitosis by association of RCC1 with the chromosomes and RanGAP with the spindle and kinetochores. SUMOylation of vertebrate RanGAP1 is required for NE, spindle, and centromere association. Arabidopsis RanGAP1 (AtRanGAP1) lacks the SUMOylated C-terminal domain of vertebrate RanGAP, but contains a plant-specific N-terminal domain (WPP domain), which is necessary and sufficient for its targeting to the NE in interphase. Here we show that the human and plant RanGAP-targeting domains are kingdom specific. AtRanGAP1 has a mitotic trafficking pattern uniquely different from that of vertebrate RanGAP, which includes targeting to the outward-growing rim of the cell plate. The WPP domain is necessary and sufficient for this targeting. Point mutations in conserved residues of the WPP domain also abolish targeting to the nuclear rim and the cell plate, suggesting that the same mechanism is involved in both targeting events. These results indicate that plant and animal RanGAPs undergo different migration patterns during cell division, which require their kingdom-specific targeting domains.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / chemistry
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Consensus Sequence
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / chemistry
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mitosis / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Envelope / metabolism
  • Point Mutation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Species Specificity
  • Tobacco / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • RanGAP1 protein, Arabidopsis