Nuclear targeting by the growth factor midkine

Yoshihisa Shibata, Takashi Muramatsu, Makoto Hirai, Tatsuya Inui, Terutoshi Kimura, Hidehiko Saito, Lynn M. McCormick, Guojun Bu, Kenji Kadomatsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Ligand-receptor internalization has been traditionally regarded as part of the cellular desensitization system. Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP) is a large endocytosis receptor with a diverse array of ligands. We recently showed that LRP binds heparin-binding growth factor midkine. Here we demonstrate that LRP mediates nuclear targeting by midkine and that the nuclear targeting is biologically important. Exogenous midkine reached the nucleus, where intact midkine was detected, within 20 min. Midkine was not internalized in LRP-deficient cells, whereas transfection of an LRP expression vector restored midkine internalization and subsequent nuclear translocation. Internalized midkine in the cytoplasm bound to nucleolin, a nucleocytoplasmic shuttle protein. The midkine-binding sites were mapped to acidic stretches in the N-terminal domain of nucleolin. When the nuclear localization signal located next to the acidic stretches was deleted, we found that the mutant nucleolin not only accumulated in the cytoplasm but also suppressed the nuclear translocation of midkine. By using cells that overexpressed the mutant nucleolin, we further demonstrated that the nuclear targeting was necessary for the full activity of midkine in the promotion of cell survival. This study therefore reveals a novel role of LRP in intracellular signaling by its ligand and the importance of nucleolin in this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6788-6796
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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