Characterization of a nuclear localization sequence in the polyomavirus capsid protein VP1.
Expression of VP1-beta-galactosidase fusion proteins in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae was used to identify a domain of the polyomavirus VP1 capsid protein which targets this protein to the nucleus. Fusion of the first 17 amino acids ofVP1 to beta-galactosidase was sufficient for nuclear localization, whereas fusion of the first 12 amino acids gave a "mixed" cytoplasmic-nuclear phenotype. Mutation of a putative targeting sequence MAPKR(5)K from R to S changed the localization of a 21 amino acid fusion protein from the nucleus to cytoplasm. These results define a nuclear location signal in the amino terminus of polyomavirus VP1 and separate this function from the high-affinity DNA binding function previously defined for this region.