Virologica Sinica

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 79–85 | Cite as

The nucleocytoplasmic transport of viral proteins

  • Qiong Ding
  • Lei Zhao
  • Hong Guo
  • Alan C. ZhengEmail author


Molecules can enter the nucleus by passive diffusion or active transport mechanisms, depending on their size. Small molecules up to size of 50–60 kDa or less than 10 nm in diameter can diffuse passively through the nuclear pore complex (NPC), while most proteins are transported by energy driven transport mechanisms. Active transport of viral proteins is mediated by nuclear localization signals (NLS), which were first identified in Simian Virus 40 large T antigen and had subsequently been identified in a large number of viral proteins. Usually they contain short stretches of lysine or arginine residues. These signals are recognized by the importin super-family (importin α and β) proteins that mediate the transport across the nuclear envelope through Ran-GTP. In contrast, only one class of the leucine-rich nuclear export signal (NES) on viral proteins is known at present. Chromosome region maintenance 1 (CRM1) protein mediates nuclear export of hundreds of viral proteins through the recognition of the leucine-rich NES.

Key words

Nuclear localization signal (NLS) Nuclear export signal (NES) Nuclear pore complex (NPC) Viral proteins 


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Copyright information

© Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiong Ding
    • 1
  • Lei Zhao
    • 1
  • Hong Guo
    • 1
  • Alan C. Zheng
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory, Wuhan Institute of VirologyChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina

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