Distinct importin recognition properties of histones and chromatin assembly factors

Melanie Johnson-Saliba, Nicole A. Siddon, Michael J. Clarkson, David J. Tremethick, David A. Jans

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Synthesis of the protein components of nuclear chromatin occurs in the cytoplasm, necessitating specific import into the nucleus. Here, we report the binding affinities of the nuclear localisation sequence (NLS)-binding importin subunits for a range of histones and chromatin assembly factors. The results suggest that import of histones to the nucleus may be mediated predominantly by importin β1, whereas the import of the other components probably relies on the conventional α/β1 import pathway. Differences in recognition by importin β1 were observed between histone H2A and the variant H2AZ, as well as between histone H3/4 with or without acetylation. The results imply that different histone variants may possess distinct nuclear import properties, with acetylation possibly playing an inhibitory role through NLS masking. Copyright (C) 2000 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Chromatin-associated protein
  • Histone
  • Histone acetylation
  • Histone variant
  • Importin
  • NAP-1

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