NSR1, a 67-kD nucleolar protein, was originally identified in our laboratory as a nuclear localization signal binding protein, and has subsequently been found to be involved in ribosome biogenesis. NSR1 has three regions: an acidic/serine-rich NH2 terminus, two RNA recognition motifs, and a glycine/arginine-rich COOH terminus. In this study we show that NSR1 itself has a bipartite nuclear localization sequence. Deletion of either basic amino acid stretch results in the mislocation of NSR1 to the cytoplasm. We further demonstrate that either of two regions, the NH2 terminus or both RNA recognition motifs, are sufficient to localize a bacterial protein, beta-galactosidase, to the nucleolus. Intensive deletion analysis has further defined a specific acidic/serine-rich region within the NH2 terminus as necessary for nucleolar accumulation rather than nucleolar targeting. In addition, deletion of either RNA recognition motif or point mutations in one of the RNP consensus octamers results in the mislocalization of a fusion protein within the nucleus. Although the glycine/arginine-rich region in the COOH terminus is not sufficient to bring beta-galactosidase to the nucleolus, our studies show that this domain is necessary for nucleolar accumulation when an RNP consensus octamer in one of the RNA recognition motifs is mutated. Our findings are consistent with the notion that nucleolar localization is a result of the binding interactions of various domains of NSR1 within the nucleolus rather than the presence of a specific nucleolar targeting signal.

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