Nuclear pore complex (NPC) proteins are known for their critical roles in regulating nucleocytoplasmic traffic of macromolecules across the nuclear envelope. However, recent findings suggest that some nucleoporins (Nups), including Nup98, have additional functions in developmental gene regulation. Nup98, which exhibits transcription-dependent mobility at the NPC but can also bind chromatin away from the nuclear envelope, is frequently involved in chromosomal translocations in a subset of patients suffering from acute myeloid leukemia (AML). A common paradigm suggests that Nup98 translocations cause aberrant transcription when they are recuited to aberrant genomic loci. Importantly, this model fails to account for the potential loss of wild type (WT) Nup98 function in the presence of Nup98 translocation mutants. Here we examine how the cell might regulate Nup98 nucleoplasmic protein levels to control transcription in healthy cells. In addition, we discuss the possibility that dominant negative Nup98 fusion proteins disrupt the transcriptional activity of WT Nup98 in the nucleoplasm to drive AML.
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