The permeability barrier of nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) controls bulk nucleocytoplasmic exchange. It consists of nucleoporin domains rich in phenylalanine-glycine motifs (FG domains). As a bottom-up nanoscale model for the permeability barrier, we have used planar films produced with three different end-grafted FG domains and quantitatively analyzed the binding of two different nuclear transport receptors (NTRs), NTF2 and Importin β, together with the concomitant film thickness changes. NTR binding caused only moderate changes in film thickness; the binding isotherms showed negative cooperativity and could all be mapped onto a single master curve. This universal NTR binding behavior - a key element for the transport selectivity of the NPC - was quantitatively reproduced by a physical model that treats FG domains as regular, flexible polymers, and NTRs as spherical colloids with a homogeneous surface, ignoring the detailed arrangement of interaction sites along FG domains and on the NTR surface.
- Anthony A Hyman, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Germany
© 2016, Zahn et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.