Experiments investigating the nuclear import of the U2 snRNP-specific B'' protein (U2B'') are presented. U2B'' nuclear transport is shown to be able to occur independently of binding to U2 snRNA. The central segment of the protein (amino acids 90–146) encodes an unusual nuclear localization signal (NLS) that is related to that of the U1 snRNP-specific A protein. However, nuclear import of U2B'' does not depend on this NLS. Sequences in the N-terminal RNP motif of the protein are sufficient to direct nuclear transport, and evidence is presented that the interaction of U2B'' with the U2A' protein mediates this effect. This suggests that U2B'' can ‘piggy-back’ to the nucleus in association with U2A’, and thus be imported to the nucleus by two different mechanisms. U2A' nuclear transport, on the other hand, can occur independently of both U2B'' binding and of U2 snRNA.

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