The nuclear import receptor Kpnβ1 and its potential as an anticancer therapeutic target

Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr. 2013;23(1):1-10. doi: 10.1615/critreveukargeneexpr.2013004845.


Many proteins require transport across the nuclear envelope, the physical barrier separating the nucleus from the cytoplasm. Karyopherin β (Kpnβ1) proteins are the major nuclear receptor proteins in the cell that cargo proteins across the nuclear envelope, allowing them to enter and exit the cell nucleus. Karyopherin β1, a major nuclear import receptor, plays an integral role in importing transcription factors, cell signaling proteins, cell cycle proteins, and so forth, into the nucleus, thus playing a crucial role in maintaining normal cell homeostasis. However, cancer cells appear to differentially regulate the expression of the Karyopherin β proteins, presumably in order to maintain increased nuclear transport rates, thus implicating this protein family as a target for cancer therapy. The role of Kpnβ1 in cancer is only now being elucidated, and recent work points to its potential usefulness as an anti-cancer target.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Nuclear Envelope* / genetics
  • Nuclear Envelope* / metabolism
  • Nuclear Localization Signals / genetics
  • Nuclear Localization Signals / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • beta Karyopherins / genetics*
  • beta Karyopherins / metabolism


  • KPNB1 protein, human
  • Nuclear Localization Signals
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • beta Karyopherins