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Science 291 (5504): 653-656

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Role of Importin-beta  in Coupling Ran to Downstream Targets in Microtubule Assembly

Christiane Wiese,1 Andrew Wilde,1* Mary Shannon Moore,2 Stephen A. Adam,3 Andreas Merdes,4*dagger Yixian Zheng1dagger

The guanosine triphosphatase Ran stimulates assembly of microtubule asters and spindles in mitotic Xenopus egg extracts. A carboxyl-terminal region of the nuclear-mitotic apparatus protein (NuMA), a nuclear protein required for organizing mitotic spindle poles, mimics Ran's ability to induce asters. This NuMA fragment also specifically interacted with the nuclear transport factor, importin-beta . We show that importin-beta is an inhibitor of microtubule aster assembly in Xenopus egg extracts and that Ran regulates the interaction between importin-beta and NuMA. Importin-beta therefore links NuMA to regulation by Ran. This suggests that similar mechanisms regulate nuclear import during interphase and spindle assembly during mitosis.

1 Department of Embryology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Baltimore, MD 21210, USA.
2 Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
3 Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611-3072, USA.
4 Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, ICMB, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JR, UK.


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