EEF1A is a novel component of the mammalian nuclear protein export machinery

Mireille Khacho, Karim Mekhail, Karine Pilon-Larose, Arnim Pause, Jocelyn Côté, Stephen Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The cytoplasmic translation factor eEF1A has been implicated in the nuclear export of tRNA species in lower eukaryotes. Here we demonstrate that eEF1A plays a central role in nuclear export of proteins in mammalian cells. TD-NEM (transcription-dependent nuclear export motif), a newly characterized nuclear export signal, mediates efficient nuclear export of several proteins including the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor and the poly(A)-binding protein (PABP1) in a manner that is dependent on ongoing RNA polymerase II (RNA PolII)-dependent transcription. eEF1A interacts specifically with TD-NEM of VHL and PABP1 and disrupting this interaction, by point mutations of key TD-NEM residues or treatment with actinomycin D, an inhibitor of RNA PolII-dependent transcription, prevents assembly and nuclear export. siRNA-induced knockdown or antibody-mediated depletion of eEF1A prevents in vivo and in vitro nuclear export of TD-NEM-containing proteins. Nuclear retention experiments and inhibition of the Exportin-5 pathway suggest that eEF1A stimulates nuclear export of proteins from the cytoplasmic side of the nuclear envelope, without entering the nucleus. Together, these data identify a role for eEF1A, a cytoplasmic mediator of tRNA export in yeast, in the nuclear export of proteins in mammalian cells. These results also provide a link between the translational apparatus and subcellular trafficking machinery demonstrating that these two central pathways in basic metabolism can act cooperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5296-5308
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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