Regulated nuclear export of the homeodomain transcription factor Prospero

Z Demidenko, P Badenhorst, T Jones, X Bi, M A Mortin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Subcellular distribution of the Prospero protein is dynamically regulated during Drosophila embryonic nervous system development. Prospero is first detected in neuroblasts where it becomes cortically localized and tethered by the adapter protein, Miranda. After division, Prospero enters the nucleus of daughter ganglion mother cells where it functions as a transcription factor. We have isolated a mutation that removes the C-terminal 30 amino acids from the highly conserved 100 amino acid Prospero domain. Molecular dissection of the homeo- and Prospero domains, and expression of chimeric Prospero proteins in mammalian and insect cultured cells indicates that Prospero contains a nuclear export signal that is masked by the Prospero domain. Nuclear export of Prospero, which is sensitive to the drug leptomycin B, is mediated by Exportin. Mutation of the nuclear export signal-mask in Drosophila embryos prevents Prospero nuclear localization in ganglion mother cells. We propose that a combination of cortical tethering and regulated nuclear export controls Prospero subcellular distribution and function in all higher eukaryotes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1359-67
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001


  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus
  • Cercopithecus aethiops
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Subcellular Fractions
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic


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