Molecular mechanism of the nuclear protein import cycle

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Mar;8(3):195-208. doi: 10.1038/nrm2114. Epub 2007 Feb 7.


The nuclear import of proteins through nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) illustrates how a complex biological function can be generated by a spatially and temporally organized cycle of interactions between cargoes, carriers and the Ran GTPase. Recent work has given considerable insight into this process, especially about how interactions are coordinated and the basis for the molecular recognition that underlies the process. Although considerable progress has been made in identifying and characterizing the molecular interactions in the soluble phase that drive the nuclear protein import cycle, understanding the precise mechanism of translocation through NPCs remains a major challenge.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus*
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport
  • ran GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • ran GTP-Binding Protein