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J Cell Sci. 2017 May 15;130(10):1822-1834. doi: 10.1242/jcs.199398. Epub 2017 Apr 6.

Compositionally distinct nuclear pore complexes of functionally distinct dimorphic nuclei in the ciliate Tetrahymena.

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Advanced ICT Research Institute, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Kobe 651-2492, Japan.
Graduate School of Agriculture, Tohoku University, Osaki, Miyagi 989-6711, Japan.
Graduate School of Life Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 001-0021, Japan.
Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, Suita 565-0871, Japan.
Graduate School of Science, Osaka University, Toyonaka 560-0043, Japan.
Advanced ICT Research Institute, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Kobe 651-2492, Japan


The nuclear pore complex (NPC), a gateway for nucleocytoplasmic trafficking, is composed of ∼30 different proteins called nucleoporins. It remains unknown whether the NPCs within a species are homogeneous or vary depending on the cell type or physiological condition. Here, we present evidence for compositionally distinct NPCs that form within a single cell in a binucleated ciliate. In Tetrahymena thermophila, each cell contains both a transcriptionally active macronucleus (MAC) and a germline micronucleus (MIC). By combining in silico analysis, mass spectrometry analysis for immuno-isolated proteins and subcellular localization analysis of GFP-fused proteins, we identified numerous novel components of MAC and MIC NPCs. Core members of the Nup107-Nup160 scaffold complex were enriched in MIC NPCs. Strikingly, two paralogs of Nup214 and of Nup153 localized exclusively to either the MAC or MIC NPCs. Furthermore, the transmembrane components Pom121 and Pom82 localize exclusively to MAC and MIC NPCs, respectively. Our results argue that functional nuclear dimorphism in ciliates is likely to depend on the compositional and structural specificity of NPCs.


FG-Nup; Nuclear dimorphism; Nuclear envelope; Nucleoporin; Y-complex

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare no competing or financial interests.

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