The Structure and Physiology of the Nuclear Pore Complex

Author:  Kevin Doello
Date:  June 2013



The Nuclear Pore Complex (NPC) is a protein channel that communicates and transports molecules between the cytoplasm and the nucleoplasm. It has a complex structure composed of many structural proteins, mainly nucleoporins and transporter proteins, and its biosynthesis is an extremely regulated and cell cycle phase dependent process. Moreover, in the present review, it will be shown that this structure could play a decisive role in gene expression and in the pathogenesis of several diseases. On the one hand, NPC affects gene expression by regulating epigenetic enzymes and affecting the nucleocytoplasmic balance of transcription factors and small nuclear RNAs. On the other hand, diverse studies show that NPC is involved in some diseases and pathological processes like aging, neurodegenerative diseases and extrapyramidal syndromes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases and genetic syndromes. In conclusion, NPC might be an important element in the control of gene transcription and cell phenotype, and perhaps, it will become a future pharmacologic target for several diseases in which it is involved in.