The past three years have seen the solution of several nuclear transport component structures and recently of the structure of a regulator bound to part of a nuclear pore complex (NPC) protein. These structures have provided a wealth of valuable information about the proteins involved and suggested strategies for further investigation of their properties. We do not have space here to go into detail about this information, so instead we are illustrating the structures and providing primary references enabling interested readers to find further information. On this page, we are concentrating on the GTPase Ran and proteins that modulate its activity, and on the facing page are the other transport factors, some of which also interact directly with Ran. Notably absent at the moment are the nuclear pore complex component s, apart from one domain of RanBP2. Only when theses are characterized fully will we really be able to understand how transport substrates move across the nuclear envelope.