Directional export of messenger RNA (mRNA) protein particles (mRNPs) through nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) requires multiple factors. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the NPC proteins Nup159 and Nup42 are asymmetrically localized to the cytoplasmic face and have distinct functional domains: a phenylalanine-glycine (FG) repeat domain that docks mRNP transport receptors and domains that bind the DEAD-box ATPase Dbp5 and its activating cofactor Gle1, respectively. We speculated that the Nup42 and Nup159 FG domains play a role in positioning mRNPs for the terminal mRNP-remodeling steps carried out by Dbp5. Here we find that deletion (Δ) of both the Nup42 and Nup159 FG domains results in a cold-sensitive poly(A)+ mRNA export defect. The nup42ΔFG nup159ΔFG mutant also has synthetic lethal genetic interactions with dbp5 and gle1 mutants. RNA cross-linking experiments further indicate that the nup42ΔFG nup159ΔFG mutant has a reduced capacity for mRNP remodeling during export. To further analyze the role of these FG domains, we replaced the Nup159 or Nup42 FG domains with FG domains from other Nups. These FG "swaps" demonstrate that only certain FG domains are functional at the NPC cytoplasmic face. Strikingly, fusing the Nup42 FG domain to the carboxy-terminus of Gle1 bypasses the need for the endogenous Nup42 FG domain, highlighting the importance of proximal positioning for these factors. We conclude that the Nup42 and Nup159 FG domains target the mRNP to Gle1 and Dbp5 for mRNP remodeling at the NPC. Moreover, these results provide key evidence that character and context play a direct role in FG domain function and mRNA export.
Copyright © 2014 by the Genetics Society of America.