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Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2011;287:233-86. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-386043-9.00006-2.

Nuclear pore complex: biochemistry and biophysics of nucleocytoplasmic transport in health and disease.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA.


Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) are the gateways connecting the nucleoplasm and cytoplasm. This structures are composed of over 30 different proteins and 60-125 MDa of mass depending on type of species. NPCs are bilateral pathways that selectively control the passage of macromolecules into and out of the nucleus. Molecules smaller than 40 kDa diffuse through the NPC passively while larger molecules require facilitated transport provided by their attachment to karyopherins. Kinetic studies have shown that approximately 1000 translocations occur per second per NPC. Maintaining its high selectivity while allowing for rapid translocation makes the NPC an efficient chemical nanomachine. In this review, we approach the NPC function via a structural viewpoint. Putting together different pieces of this puzzle, this chapter confers an overall insight into what molecular processes are engaged in import/export of active cargos across the NPC and how different transporters regulate nucleocytoplasmic transport. In the end, the correlation of several diseases and disorders with the NPC structural defects and dysfunctions is discussed.

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