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In cell architecture of the nuclear pore complex and snapshots of its turnover

By Matteo Allegretti, Christian E. Zimmerli, Vasileios Rantos, Florian Wilfling, Paolo Ronchi, Herman KH Fung, Chia-Wei Lee, Wim Hagen, Beata Turoňová, Kai Karius, Xiaojie Zhang, Christoph Müller, Yannick Schwab, Julia Mahamid, Boris Pfander, Jan Kosinski, Martin Beck

Posted 04 Feb 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.04.933820 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2670-5)

Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) mediate exchange across the nuclear envelope. They consist of hundreds of proteins called nucleoporins (Nups) that assemble in multiple copies to fuse the inner and outer nuclear membranes. Elucidating the molecular function and architecture of NPCs imposes a formidable challenge and requires the convergence of in vitro and in situ approaches. How exactly NPC architecture accommodates processes such as mRNA export or NPC assembly and turnover inside of cells remains poorly understood. Here we combine integrated in situ structural biology, correlative light and electron microscopy with yeast genetics to structurally analyze NPCs within the native context of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells under conditions of starvation and exponential growth. We find an unanticipated in situ layout of nucleoporins with respect to overall dimensions and conformation of the NPC scaffold that could not have been predicted from previous in vitro analysis. Particularly striking is the configuration of the Nup159 complex, which appears critical to spatially accommodate not only mRNA export but also NPC turnover by selective autophagy. We capture structural snapshots of NPC turnover, revealing that it occurs through nuclear envelope herniae and NPC-containing nuclear vesicles. Our study provides the basis for understanding the various membrane remodeling events that happen at the interface of the nuclear envelope with the autophagy apparatus and emphasizes the need of investigating macromolecular complexes in their cellular context.

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