The nuclear pore complex is embedded in the double membrane of the nuclear envelope (Fig. 10.2). The basic structure of the nuclear pore complex, which has been mainly elucidated by electron microscopy, is very similar in all eukaryotic cells. It consists of over 50 different components, called nucleoporins, which form eight identical subunits arranged in a circle. Seen from the side the nuclear pore complex comprises three rings. The inner ring sends out radial spokes into the center of the pore and includes transmembrane proteins that anchor the complex to the nuclear envelope. A central transporter, also called the plug, is situated in the heart of each nuclear pore complex, forming the gate for macromolecular traffic.
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