Disabled-1 (Dab1) is an essential intracellular protein in the Reelin pathway. It has a nuclear localization signal (NLS; hereafter referred to as "NLS1") and 2 nuclear export signals, and shuttles between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. In this study,we found that Dab1 has an additional unidentified NLS, and that the Dab1 NLS1 mutant could translocate to the nucleus in an unconventional ATP/temperature-dependent and cytoplasmic factor/RanGTP gradient-independent manner. Additional mutations in the NLS1 mutant revealed that K67 and K69 are important for the nuclear transport. Furthermore, an excess of the intracellular domain of the Reelin receptors inhibited the nuclear translocation of Dab1. An in utero electroporation study showed that a large amount of Dab1 in the cytoplasm in migrating neurons inhibited the migration, and that forced transport of Dab1 into the nucleus attenuated this inhibitory effect. In addition, rescue experiments using yotari, an autosomal recessive mutant of dab1, revealed that cells expressing Dab1 NLS1 mutant tend to distribute at more superficial positions than those expressing wild-type Dab1. Taken together, these findings suggest that Dab1 has at least 2 NLSs, and that the regulation of the subcellular localization of Dab1 is important for the proper migration of excitatory neurons.
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