Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) are the only gateways between the nucleus and cytoplasm in eukaryotic cells, facilitating the transport of selected cargoes of size from a few up to hundred nanometers. This versatility implies an important pore plasticity. Here, by combining atomic force microscopy (AFM) and single molecule localization microscopy (SMLM), a group led by Christine Doucet and Pierre Emmanuel Milhiet from the IBM team revealed that the NPC basket is very soft and explores a large conformational landscape: apart from its canonical basket shape, it dives into the central pore channel or opens, highlighting how this structure can adapt, and let morphologically diverse cargoes shuttle through NPCs.
Structure and mechanics of the human nuclear pore complex basket using correlative AFM-fluorescence superresolution microscopy
Vial et al., Nanoscale, 15, 5756-5770 (2023)