In all eukaryotic cells genetic information is safely stored in a nucleus protected by the nuclear envelope. Openings in the nuclear envelope, called nuclear pore complexes (NPCs), have an intricate architecture. These NPCs regulate the transport of molecules to and from the cell’s nucleus. Vertebrate NPCs are fairly well studied, but the question remains whether NPCs from eukaryotes belonging to different kingdoms are similar to our own.
Researchers from the Beck group at EMBL, in collaboration with Engel and Baumeister groups at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, have revealed the structure of the NPC of the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, in a paper published in Nature Communications. Their research reveals that there are striking differences between the human and the algal NPC. The size, diameter, and asymmetric architecture of the algal NPC are significantly different from the human NPC.
The nucleus of this cell fluoresces in bright green thanks to GFP-labelled nucleoporin proteins. EMBL scientists use engineered nucleoporins as 3D reference standards to improve super-resolution microscopy.