Cell structure and function

Insights into the molecular mechanism of nuclear trafficking using nuclear transport factor 2 (NTF2).

PMID 11129791


Nuclear transport factor 2 (NTF2) mediates the nuclear import of RanGDP. The simplicity and specialization of this system, combined with the availability of crystal structures of NTF2, RanGDP and their complex, has facilitated the investigation of the molecular mechanism of its trafficking. NTF2 binds to both RanGDP and FxFG repeat-containing nucleoporins. Mutants engineered on the basis of structural information together with determination of binding constants have been used to dissect the roles of these interactions in transport. Thus, NTF2 binds to RanGDP sufficiently strongly for the complex to remain intact during transport through NPCs, but the interaction between NTF2 and FxFG nucleoporins is much more transient, which would enable NTF2 to move through the NPC by hopping from one repeat to another. An analogous nucleoporin hopping mechanism may also be used by carrier molecules of the importin-beta family to move through NPCs.