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J Signal Transduct. 2012;2012:208650. doi: 10.1155/2012/208650. Epub 2011 Oct 15.

Nuclear transport: a switch for the oxidative stress-signaling circuit?

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Department of Physiology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3G 1Y6.


Imbalances in the formation and clearance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) can lead to oxidative stress and subsequent changes that affect all aspects of physiology. To limit and repair the damage generated by ROS, cells have developed a multitude of responses. A hallmark of these responses is the activation of signaling pathways that modulate the function of downstream targets in different cellular locations. To this end, critical steps of the stress response that occur in the nucleus and cytoplasm have to be coordinated, which makes the proper communication between both compartments mandatory. Here, we discuss the interdependence of ROS-mediated signaling and the transport of macromolecules across the nuclear envelope. We highlight examples of oxidant-dependent nuclear trafficking and describe the impact of oxidative stress on the transport apparatus. Our paper concludes by proposing a cellular circuit of ROS-induced signaling, nuclear transport and repair.

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