Interacting proteins and differences in nuclear transport reveal specific functions for the NAP1 family proteins in plants

Plant Physiol. 2005 Jul;138(3):1446-56. doi: 10.1104/pp.105.060509. Epub 2005 Jun 24.


Nucleosome assembly protein 1 (NAP1) is conserved from yeast to human and facilitates the in vitro assembly of nucleosomes as a histone chaperone. Inconsistent with their proposed function in the nucleus, however, many NAP1 proteins had been reported to localize in the cytoplasm. We investigated the subcellular localization of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and rice (Oryza sativa) NAP1 family proteins first by identification of interacting partners and by direct examination of the localization of green fluorescent protein-tagged proteins. Through treatment of tobacco cells with leptomycin B and mutagenesis of nuclear export signal, we demonstrated that Nicta;NAP1;1 and Orysa;NAP1;1 shuttle between the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Together with the demonstration that tobacco NAP1 proteins bind histone H2A and H2B, our results support the current model and provide additional evidence that function of NAP1 as histone chaperones appears to be conserved in plants. In addition, we show that tobacco NAP1 proteins interact with tubulin and the mitotic cyclin Nicta;CYCB1;1, suggesting a role for NAP1 in microtubule dynamics. Interestingly, in spite of their high homology with the above NAP1 proteins, the other three tobacco proteins and Orysa;NAP1;2 did not show nucleocytoplasmic shuttling and were localized only in the cytoplasm. Moreover, Orysa;NAP1;3 that lacks a typical nuclear localization signal sequence was localized in both the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Finally, we show that only Orysa;NAP1;3 could be phosphorylated by casein kinase 2alpha in vitro. However, this phosphorylation was not responsible for nuclear import of Orysa;NAP1;3 as being demonstrated through mutagenesis studies. Together, our results provide an important step toward elucidating the molecular mechanism of function of the NAP1 family proteins in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibodies
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Cytochrome b Group / metabolism
  • Ferritins / metabolism
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nicotiana / metabolism*
  • Oryza / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Antibodies
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cytochrome b Group
  • Histones
  • Plant Proteins
  • Ferritins
  • bacterioferritin