Regulation of nuclear import is fundamental to eukaryotic biology. The majority of nuclear import pathways are mediated by importin-cargo interactions. Yet not all nuclear proteins interact with importins, necessitating the identification of a general importin-independent nuclear import pathway. Here, we identify a code that determines importin-independent nuclear import of ankyrin repeats (ARs), a structural motif found in over 250 human proteins with diverse functions. AR-containing proteins (ARPs) with a hydrophobic residue at the 13th position of two consecutive ARs bind RanGDP efficiently, and consequently enter the nucleus. This code, experimentally tested in 17 ARPs, predicts the nuclear-cytoplasmic localization of over 150 annotated human ARPs with high accuracy and is acquired by the most common familial melanoma-associated CDKN2A mutation, leading to nuclear accumulation of mutant p16ink4a. The RaDAR (RanGDP/AR) pathway represents a general importin-independent nuclear import pathway and is frequently used by AR-containing transcriptional regulators, especially those regulating NF-κB/p53. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
Lu, M., Zak, J., Chen, S., Sanchez-Pulido, L., Severson, D. T., Endicott, J., … Lu, X. (2014). A code for RanGDP binding in ankyrin repeats defines a nuclear import pathway. Cell, 157(5), 1130–1145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2014.05.006