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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Nov;13(11):687-99. doi: 10.1038/nrm3461.

Nuclear pore complex composition: a new regulator of tissue-specific and developmental functions.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute, Biochemistry and Biophysics Department, University of California San Francisco, California 94158, USA.


Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) are multiprotein aqueous channels that penetrate the nuclear envelope connecting the nucleus and the cytoplasm. NPCs consist of multiple copies of roughly 30 different proteins known as nucleoporins (NUPs). Due to their essential role in controlling nucleocytoplasmic transport, NPCs have traditionally been considered as structures of ubiquitous composition. The overall structure of the NPC is indeed conserved in all cells, but new evidence suggests that the protein composition of NPCs varies among cell types and tissues. Moreover, mutations in various nucleoporins result in tissue-specific diseases. These findings point towards a heterogeneity in NPC composition and function. This unexpected heterogeneity suggests that cells use a combination of different nucleoporins to assemble NPCs with distinct properties and specialized functions.

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