Ty3 nuclear entry is initiated by viruslike particle docking on GLFG nucleoporins.
Yeast retrotransposons form intracellular particles within which replication occurs. Because fungal nuclear membranes do not break down during mitosis, similar to retroviruses infecting nondividing cells, the cDNA produced must be translocated through nuclear pore complexes. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae long terminal repeat retrotransposon Ty3 assembles its Gag3 and Gag3-Pol3 precursor polyproteins into viruslike particles in association with perinuclear P-body foci. These perinuclear clusters of Ty3 viruslike particles localized to sites of clustered nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) in a nup120Delta mutant, indicating that Ty3 particles and NPCs interact physically. The NPC channels are lined with nucleoporins (Nups) with extended FG (Phe-Gly) motif repeat domains, further classified as FG, FxFG, or GLFG repeat types. These domains mediate partitioning of proteins between the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Here we have systematically examined the requirements for FG repeat domains in Ty3 nuclear transport. The GLFG domains interacted in vitro with virus-like particle Gag3, and this interaction was disrupted by mutations in the amino-terminal domain of Gag3, which is predicted to lie on the external surface of the particles. Accordingly, Ty3 transposition was decreased in strains with the GLFG repeats deleted. The spacer-nucleocapsid domain of Gag3, which is predicted to be internal to the particle, interacted with GLFG repeats and nucleocapsid localized to the nucleus. We conclude that Ty3 particle docking on nuclear pores is facilitated by interactions between Gag3 and GLFG Nups and that nuclear entry of the preintegration complex is further promoted by nuclear localization signals within the nucleocapsid and integrase.