Towards reconciling structure and function in the nuclear pore complex

Histochem Cell Biol. 2008 Feb;129(2):105-16. doi: 10.1007/s00418-007-0371-x. Epub 2008 Jan 29.


The spatial separation between the cytoplasm and the cell nucleus necessitates the continuous exchange of macromolecular cargo across the double-membraned nuclear envelope. Being the only passageway in and out of the nucleus, the nuclear pore complex (NPC) has the principal function of regulating the high throughput of nucleocytoplasmic transport in a highly selective manner so as to maintain cellular order and function. Here, we present a retrospective review of the evidence that has led to the current understanding of both NPC structure and function. Looking towards the future, we contemplate on how various outstanding effects and nanoscopic characteristics ought to be addressed, with the goal of reconciling structure and function into a single unified picture of the NPC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Nuclear Pore / chemistry
  • Nuclear Pore / physiology*
  • Nuclear Pore / ultrastructure*