Sitting on the nuclear envelope, nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) control the molecular transport between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Without definite open or close states, the NPC uses a family of intrinsically disordered nucleoporins called FG-Nups to construct a selective permeability barrier whose functional structure is unclear. Experimental advances have offered high-resolution molecular knowledge of the NPC scaffold and docking of the unfolded FG-Nups, however, the ‘hairy’ barrier structure still appears as blurred lobes even under the state-of-the-art microscopy. Without accurate experimental visualization, the molecular mechanism for the NPC-mediated transport remains a matter of debate. Modeling provides an alternative way to resolve this long-standing mystery. Here, we briefly review different methods employed in modeling the FG-Nups, arranging from all-atom molecular dynamics to mean-field theories. We discuss the advantage and limit of each modeling technique, and summarize the theoretical insights that, despite certain controversy, deepened our understanding of the hairy pore.
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Review Article| August 14 2020
Modeling the nucleoporins that form the hairy pores
Kai Huang ;
1Biomedical Engineering Department, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, U.S.A.
2Department of Chemistry, Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, U.S.A.
Correspondence: Igal Szleifer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Kai Huang, Igal Szleifer; Modeling the nucleoporins that form the hairy pores. Biochem Soc Trans 28 August 2020; 48 (4): 1447–1461. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BST20190941
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