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O-linked Glycoproteins


Diffusion of metabolites and small non-nuclear molecules as well as active, mediated import of protein and export of protein and RNA through the nuclear envelope occurs through nuclear pore complexes or NPC’s. NPC’s contain up to 100 different polypeptides which have a combined mass of about 125 megadaltons. The channel available for passive transport through the NPC is about 9-10 nm in diameter while carrier mediated changes in the NPC result in a ~25 nm channel used for larger, actively transported molecules. Of the 100 polypeptides, at least 8 of these are O-linked N-acetylglycosamine-modified in mammalian cells. All of the mammalian O-linked glycoproteins contain multiple copies of phenylalanine, glycine dipeptide repeats dispersed throughout part of their sequence. Studies indicate that the NPC O-linked glycoproteins have a direct role in nuclear protein import. The accumulation of proteins in the nucleus is mediated by short sequences of basic amino acids called nuclear localization sequences (NLSs). These sequences are necessary and sufficient to direct a protein or inert carrier to the nuclear interior. Nuclear protein import is accomplished by two sequential, energy dependent events. The first step, docking at the nuclear pore complex, requires a 54/56 kDa nuclear localization signal receptor (a-karyopherin, importin-a, SRP-a) and the nuclear transport factor p97 (NTF97, b-karyopherin, importin-b). The second step, translocation across the nuclear envelope (NE), requires the GTP-binding protein, Ran/TC4.


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