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RanGAP1 was the first documented substrate for conjugation with the ubiquitin-like protein SUMO-1. However, the functional significance of this conjugation has not been fully clarified. We sought to examine RanGAP1 behavior during mitosis. We found that RanGAP1 associates with mitotic spindles and that it is particularly concentrated at foci near kinetochores. Association with kinetochores appeared soon after nuclear envelope breakdown and persisted until late anaphase, but it was lost coincident with nuclear envelope assembly in telophase. A mutant RanGAP1 protein lacking the capacity to be conjugated to SUMO-1 no longer associated with spindles, indicating that conjugation was essential for RanGAP1's mitotic localization. RanBP2, a nuclear pore protein that binds SUMO-1-conjugated RanGAP1 during interphase, colocalized with RanGAP1 on spindles, suggesting that a complex between these two proteins may be involved in mitotic targeting of RanGAP1. This report shows for the first time that SUMO-1 conjugation is required for mitotic localization of RanGAP1, and suggests that a major role of SUMO-1 conjugation to RanGAP1 may be the spatial regulation of the Ran pathway during mitosis.
The Journal of Cell Biology