Communication between the cytoplasm and the nucleus is a fundamental feature of eukaryotic cells. Bidirectional transport of macromolecules across the nuclear envelope is typically mediated by receptors and occurs exclusively through nuclear pore complexes (NPCs). The components and molecular mechanisms regulating nucleocytoplasmic trafficking and signalling processes are well studied in animals and yeast but are poorly understood in plants. Current work shows that components of the NPC and the nuclear import and export machinery play essential roles in plant innate immunity. Translocation of defence regulators and Resistance (R) proteins between the cytoplasm and the nucleus are recently uncovered aspects of plant defence responses against pathogens. Future studies will reveal more details on the spatial and temporal dynamics and regulation of this process.