Translocation through the nuclear pore: Kaps pave the way

Bioessays. 2009 Apr;31(4):466-77. doi: 10.1002/bies.200800159.


Transport through the nuclear pore complex (NPC), a keystone of the eukaryotic building plan, is known to involve a large channel and an abundance of phenylalanine-glycine (FG) protein domains serving as binding sites for soluble nuclear transport receptors and their cargo complexes. However, the conformation of the FG domains in vivo, their arrangement in relation to the transport channel and their function(s) in transport are still vividly debated. Here, we revisit a number of representative transport models-specifically Brownian affinity gating, selective phase gating, reversible FG domain collapse, and reduction of dimensionality (ROD)-in the light of new data obtained by optical single transporter recording, optical superresolution microscopy, artificial nanopores, and many other techniques. The analysis suggests that a properly adapted, simplified version of the ROD model accounts well for the available data. This has implications for nucleocytoplasmic transport in general.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nuclear Pore / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins / chemistry*
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins / metabolism*


  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins