One Ring to Rule them All? Structural and Functional Diversity in the Nuclear Pore Complex

Trends Biochem Sci. 2021 Jul;46(7):595-607. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2021.01.003. Epub 2021 Feb 6.


The nuclear pore complex (NPC) is the massive protein assembly that regulates the transport of macromolecules between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Recent breakthroughs have provided major insights into the structure of the NPC in different eukaryotes, revealing a previously unsuspected diversity of NPC architectures. In parallel, the NPC has been shown to be a key player in regulating essential nuclear processes such as chromatin organization, gene expression, and DNA repair. However, our knowledge of the NPC structure has not been able to address the molecular mechanisms underlying its regulatory roles. We discuss potential explanations, including the coexistence of alternative NPC architectures with specific functional roles.

Keywords: NPC; gene regulation; nuclear pore complex; nuclear transport; nucleoporin; structure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus
  • Cytoplasm
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins*
  • Nuclear Pore*


  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins