Calmodulin (CaM) potentiates Ca(2+)-dependent signaling pathways in both the cytoplasm and nucleus. We have investigated the mechanism of CaM nuclear transport using tissue culture cell microinjection and a permeabilized cell import assay. The inhibition of CaM import by the translocation inhibitor wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) and by chilling, indicates that CaM import is facilitated, but because ATP depletion does not affect CaM import, the mechanism does not appear to be active. Chilling and WGA arrest persist in ATP-depleted cells, indicating that CaM is not retained in the cytoplasm by an ATP-dependent mechanism. In permeabilized cells, both Ca(2+)-CaM and Ca(2+)-free CaM are sensitive to extract-dependent WGA and chilling import inhibition. Titration experiments in microinjected and permeabilized cells indicate that a saturable cytosolic factor(s) mediates chilling and WGA arrest.

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