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FG-Rich Repeats of Nuclear Pore Proteins Form a Three-Dimensional Meshwork with Hydrogel-Like Properties

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Science  03 Nov 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5800, pp. 815-817
DOI: 10.1126/science.1132516

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Abstract

Nuclear pore complexes permit rapid passage of cargoes bound to nuclear transport receptors, but otherwise suppress nucleocytoplasmic fluxes of inert macromolecules ≥30 kilodaltons. To explain this selectivity, a sieve structure of the permeability barrier has been proposed that is created through reversible cross-linking between Phe and Gly (FG)–rich nucleoporin repeats. According to this model, nuclear transport receptors overcome the size limit of the sieve and catalyze their own nuclear pore-passage by a competitive disruption of adjacent inter-repeat contacts, which transiently opens adjoining meshes. Here, we found that phenylalanine-mediated inter-repeat interactions indeed cross-link FG-repeat domains into elastic and reversible hydrogels. Furthermore, we obtained evidence that such hydrogel formation is required for viability in yeast.

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