Nucleo-Cytoplasmic Exchange

ID #1209

On the lecture discussing the nuclear pore complex, I understand that proteins are imported because they have the correct signal. So when a molecule does not present a signal, does the nuclear pore complex close?

Recall that the "mouth" or central channel of a nuclear pore complex never closes all the way, but at its smallest diameter (~9 nm) it is too narrow for even a moderate sized protein to pass. Proteins not accompanied by an importin (for example) do not trigger the opening of the central channel, so they don't get into the nucleus. And they'll only be accompanied by an importin if they display an NLS (or partner up with someone who does).

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