We have studied the expression of the human SRY protein (termed p27SRY) in two different cell lines by using specific antibodies. Confocal microscopy enabled us to localize p27SRY precisely in the nucleus in a discrete punctuate pattern. Furthermore, through microinjection experiments, we have demonstrated that the localization of the p27SRY protein into the nucleus was an event involving the NH2-terminal part of the high mobility group (HMG) domain. With the help of several synthetic peptides and various p27SRY mutants, we have characterized a bipartite basic motif in this part of the protein corresponding to a nuclear localization signal. This nuclear localization signal appears to be highly conserved in SRY box- and HMB box-containing proteins, suggesting common properties of nuclear targeting within the HMG box protein family.

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