Evidence for nuclear targeting of prothymosin and parathymosin synthesized in situ
To test the hypothesis that prothymosin and parathymosin contain amino acid sequences that cause them to be targeted to the cell nucleus, expression vectors were constructed containing a simian virus 40 promoter and cDNAs that would code for chimeric proteins composed of truncated human growth hormone (hGH) linked to the NH2 terminus of prothymosin or parathymosin. The truncated hGH lacked the signal peptide sequence required for its secretion. After transfection of these constructs into HeLa S3 cells, which do not normally synthesize hGH, the use of indirect immunofluorescence staining to follow the localization of the hGH chimeras demonstrated that both prothymosin and parathymosin caused targeting to the cell nucleus. Controls with a construct coding for native hGH only, and one coding for the truncated hGH lacking the signal peptide, revealed secretion into culture medium and staining in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus in the first case, and diffuse staining throughout the cytoplasm in the second. The results provide direct evidence, with proteins synthesized in situ, for the presence of nuclear localization signals in both prothymosin and parathymosin.