A novel fluorescence-based genetic strategy identifies mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae defective for nuclear pore complex assembly.
Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) are large proteinaceous portals for exchanging macromolecules between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Revealing how this transport apparatus is assembled will be critical for understanding the nuclear transport mechanism. To address this issue and to identify factors that regulate NPC formation and dynamics, a novel fluorescence-based strategy was used. This approach is based on the functional tagging of NPC proteins with the green fluorescent protein (GFP), and the hypothesis that NPC assembly mutants will have distinct GFP-NPC signals as compared with wild-type (wt) cells. By fluorescence-activated cell sorting for cells with low GFP signal from a population of mutagenized cells expressing GFP-Nup49p, three complementation groups were identified: two correspond to mutant nup120 and gle2 alleles that result in clusters of NPCs. Interestingly, a third group was a novel temperature-sensitive allele of nup57. The lowered GFP-Nup49p incorporation in the nup57-E17 cells resulted in a decreased fluorescence level, which was due in part to a sharply diminished interaction between the carboxy-terminal truncated nup57pE17 and wt Nup49p. Interestingly, the nup57-E17 mutant also affected the incorporation of a specific subset of other nucleoporins into the NPC. Decreased levels of NPC-associated Nsp1p and Nup116p were observed. In contrast, the localizations of Nic96p, Nup82p, Nup159p, Nup145p, and Pom152p were not markedly diminished. Coincidentally, nuclear import capacity was inhibited. Taken together, the identification of such mutants with specific perturbations of NPC structure validates this fluorescence-based strategy as a powerful approach for providing insight into the mechanism of NPC biogenesis.