Architecture of the nuclear pore complex coat

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Science  12 Feb 2015:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa4136

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The nuclear pore complex (NPC) constitutes the sole gateway for bidirectional nucleocytoplasmic transport. Despite half a century of structural characterization, the architecture of the NPC remains unknown. Here, we present the crystal structure of a reconstituted ~400 kDa coat nucleoporin complex (CNC) from S. cerevisiae at a 7.4-Å resolution. The crystal structure revealed a curved Y-shaped architecture and the molecular details of the coat nucleoporin interactions forming the central “triskelion” of the Y. A structural comparison of the yeast CNC with an electron microscopy reconstruction of its human counterpart suggested the evolutionary conservation of the elucidated architecture. Moreover, 32 copies of the CNC crystal structure docked readily into a cryoelectron tomographic reconstruction of the fully-assembled human NPC, thereby accounting for ~16 MDa of its mass.

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