Through a series of label transfer experiments, we have identified a HeLa cell nuclear protein that interacts with nuclear localization signals (NLSs). The protein has a molecular weight of 66,000 and an isoelectric point of approximately 6. It associates with a synthetic peptide that contains the SV-40 T antigen NLS peptide but not with an analogous peptide in which an asparagine is substituted for an essential lysine (un-NLS peptide). In addition to these peptides, several proteins have been tested as label donors. With the proteins, there is a correlation between nuclear localization (assayed with lysolecithin-permeabilized cells) and label transfer to the 66-kD protein. The NLS peptide (but not the un-NLS peptide) competes with the proteins in label transfer experiments, but neither wheat germ agglutinin nor ATP has an effect. These results suggest that the 66-kD protein functions as an NLS receptor in the first step of nuclear localization. In the course of this work, we have observed that the Staphylococcus aureus protein A is a strongly karyophilic protein. Its dramatic nuclear localization properties suggest that it may have multiple copies of an NLS.

This content is only available as a PDF.