Nucleo-Cytoplasmic Exchange

ID #2362

Is it ever possible for a very small protein to be less than 20 kDa and then diffuse through the nuclear pore complex without having a NLS? Or does the protein always have to have NLS or combined with a protein that has a NLS to get in to the nucleus?


Nuclear pore complex never closes completely but leaves a gap of approximately 9nm in diameter for smaller proteins to pass through by diffusion. Any protein that is small enough to pass through the nuclear pore complex without opening the central channel doesn’t need an NLS or bind to a protein that presents an NLS. 
NLS is not recognized by nuclear pore complex. Importin recognizes the NLS on protein and binds to it. Nuclear pore complex opens up and allows importin and anything bind to it. 

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