Features in the N and C Termini of the MAPK-interacting Kinase Mnk1 Mediate Its Nucleocytoplasmic Shuttling

Josep Lluis Parra-Palau, Gert C. Scheper, Mary L. Wilson, Christopher G. Proud

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Eukaryotic initiation factor eIF4E binds to the 5′-cap structure of the mRNA and also to the molecular scaffold protein eIF4G. eIF4E is a phosphoprotein, and the kinases that act on it have been identified as the MAPK-interacting kinases Mnk1 and Mnk2. Mnk1/2 also bind to the scaffold protein eIF4G. The N-terminal region of Mnk1 has previously been shown to bind to importin α, a component of the nuclear transport machinery, although Mnk1 itself is cytoplasmic. Here we identify a CRM1-type nuclear export motif in the C-terminal part of Mnk1. Substitution of hydrophobic residues in this motif results in Mnk1 becoming nuclear. This has allowed us to study the features of Mnk1 that are involved in its transport to the nucleus. This process requires part, but not all, of a polybasic region near the N terminus of Mnk1. Residues required for nuclear transport are also required for its interaction with importin α. This polybasic region also serves a second function in that it is required for the binding of Mnk1 to eIF4G, although the residues involved in this interaction are not identical to those involved in the binding of Mnk1 to importin α. Interaction of Mnk1 with eIF4G promotes the phosphorylation of eIF4E. Mutations that reduce the binding of Mnk1 to eIF4G in vivo and in vitro also decrease the ability of Mnk1 to enhance eIF4E phosphorylation in vivo, underlining the importance of the eIF4G-Mnk1 interaction in this process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44197-44204
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 7 Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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