A cytosolic yeast karyopherin, Kap104p, was isolated and shown to function in the nuclear import of a specific class of proteins. The protein bound directly to repeat-containing nucleoporins and to a cytosolic pool of two nuclear messenger RNA (mRNA) binding proteins, Nab2p and Nab4p. Depletion of Kap104p resulted in a rapid shift of Nab2p from the nucleus to the cytoplasm without affecting the localization of other nuclear proteins tested. This finding suggests that the major function of Kap104p lies in returning mRNA binding proteins to the nucleus after mRNA export.
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