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Nanomechanical Basis of Selective Gating by the Nuclear Pore Complex

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Science  26 Oct 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5850, pp. 640-643
DOI: 10.1126/science.1145980

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Abstract

The nuclear pore complex regulates cargo transport between the cytoplasm and the nucleus. We set out to correlate the governing biochemical interactions to the nanoscopic responses of the phenylalanineglycine (FG)–rich nucleoporin domains, which are involved in attenuating or promoting cargo translocation. We found that binding interactions with the transport receptor karyopherin-β1 caused the FG domains of the human nucleoporin Nup153 to collapse into compact molecular conformations. This effect was reversed by the action of Ran guanosine triphosphate, which returned the FG domains into a polymer brush-like, entropic barrier conformation. Similar effects were observed in Xenopus oocyte nuclei in situ. Thus, the reversible collapse of the FG domains may play an important role in regulating nucleocytoplasmic transport.

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