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Algal nuclear pore complex revealed

EMBL scientists reveal NPC architecture of algae

Architectural comparison of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii NPC (left) and the human NPC (right). IMAGE: Shyamal Mosalaganti/EMBL
Architectural comparison of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii NPC (left) and the human NPC (right). IMAGE: Shyamal Mosalaganti/EMBL

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.

Tags: Beck, Heidelberg, Postdoc, Research highlights, Science, Structural Biology

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By  Dorota Badowska

Two X-ray mirrors installed in the macromolecular crystallography beamline P14 at EMBL Hamburg. The mirrors are visible in the photo as dark rectangular crystal blocks, with two metal holders supporting the crystals in a stress-free position. The mirrors are inserted into a vacuum-compatible stainless steel vessel.

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