Published on Feb. 1, 1999 in Genetics volume 151.
PubMed ID: 9872948
MOD5 encodes a tRNA modification activity located in three subcellular compartments. Alternative translation initiation generates Mod5p-I, located in the mitochondria and the cytosol, and Mod5p-II, located in the cytosol and nucleus. Here we study the nucleus/cytosol distribution of overexpressed Mod5p-II. Nuclear Mod5p-II appears concentrated in the nucleolus, perhaps indicating that the nuclear pool may have a different biological role than the cytoplasmic and mitochondrial pools. Mod5p contains three motifs resembling bipartite-like nuclear localization sequences (NLSs), but only one is sufficient to locate a passenger protein to the nucleus. Mutations of basic residues of this motif cumulatively contribute to a cytosolic location for the fusion proteins. These alterations also cause decreased nuclear pools of endogenous Mod5p-II. Depletion of nuclear Mod5p-II does not affect tRNATyr function. Despite the NLS, most Mod5p is cytosolic. We assessed whether Mod5p sequences cause a karyophilic reporter to be located in the cytosol. By this assay, Mod5p may contain more than one region that functions as cytoplasmic retention and/or nuclear export sequences. Thus, distribution of Mod5p results from the presence/absence of mitochondrial targeting information and sequences antagonistic for nuclear and cytosolic locations. Mod5p is highly conserved; sequences responsible for subcellular distribution appear to reside in "accessory" motifs missing from prokaryotic counterparts.