Using a Simple Cellular Assay to Map NES Motifs in Cancer-Related Proteins, Gain Insight into CRM1-Mediated NES Export, and Search for NES-Harboring Micropeptides
Sendino Mouliet, Maria
Omaetxebarria Ibarra, Miren Josu
Prieto Agujeta, Gorka
Rodríguez Pérez, José Antonio
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International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21(17) : (2020) // Article ID 6341
The nuclear export receptor CRM1 (XPO1) recognizes and binds specific sequence motifs termed nuclear export signals (NESs) in cargo proteins. About 200 NES motifs have been identified, but over a thousand human proteins are potential CRM1 cargos, and most of their NESs remain to be identified. On the other hand, the interaction of NES peptides with the “NES-binding groove” of CRM1 was studied in detail using structural and biochemical analyses, but a better understanding of CRM1 function requires further investigation of how the results from these in vitro studies translate into actual NES export in a cellular context. Here we show that a simple cellular assay, based on a recently described reporter (SRV<sub>B/A</sub>), can be applied to identify novel potential NESs motifs, and to obtain relevant information on different aspects of CRM1-mediated NES export. Using cellular assays, we first map 19 new sequence motifs with nuclear export activity in 14 cancer-related proteins that are potential CRM1 cargos. Next, we investigate the effect of mutations in individual NES-binding groove residues, providing further insight into CRM1-mediated NES export. Finally, we extend the search for CRM1-dependent NESs to a recently uncovered, but potentially vast, set of small proteins called micropeptides. By doing so, we report the first NES-harboring human micropeptides.