Caspase-mediated nuclear pore complex trimming in cell differentiation and endoplasmic reticulum stress

Elife. 2023 Sep 4:12:RP89066. doi: 10.7554/eLife.89066.


During apoptosis, caspases degrade 8 out of ~30 nucleoporins to irreversibly demolish the nuclear pore complex. However, for poorly understood reasons, caspases are also activated during cell differentiation. Here, we show that sublethal activation of caspases during myogenesis results in the transient proteolysis of four peripheral Nups and one transmembrane Nup. 'Trimmed' NPCs become nuclear export-defective, and we identified in an unbiased manner several classes of cytoplasmic, plasma membrane, and mitochondrial proteins that rapidly accumulate in the nucleus. NPC trimming by non-apoptotic caspases was also observed in neurogenesis and endoplasmic reticulum stress. Our results suggest that caspases can reversibly modulate nuclear transport activity, which allows them to function as agents of cell differentiation and adaptation at sublethal levels.

Keywords: caspase; cell biology; cell differentiation; developmental biology; mouse; nuclear pore complex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Caspases*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress
  • Nuclear Pore*


  • Caspases

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE183521