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Characterization of the nuclear import of human MutLα


  • A. Brieger and G. Plotz contributed equally.


DNA mismatch repair (MMR) is essential for the maintenance of replication fidelity. Its major task is to recognize mismatches as well as insertion/deletion loops of newly synthesized DNA strands. Although different players of human MMR have been identified, the regulation of essential steps of MMR is poorly understood. Because MMR is initiated in the nucleus, nuclear import might be a mechanism to regulate MMR. Nuclear targeting is accomplished by conserved signal sequences called nuclear localization signals (NLS), which represent clusters of positively charged amino acids (aa). hMLH1 contains two clusters of positively charged amino acids, which are candidate NLS sequences (aa 469–472 and 496–499), while hPMS2 contains one (aa 574–580). To study the effect of these clusters on nuclear import, NLS mutants of hMLH1 and hPMS2 were generated and expressed in 293T cells. The subcellular localization of the mutant constructs was monitored by confocal laser microscopy. We demonstrated that missense mutations of two signal sequences, one in hMLH1 and one in hPMS2, lead to impaired nuclear import, which was especially prominent for mutants of the hMLH1 residues K471 and R472; and hPMS2 residues K577 and R578. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.