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Cell's core pore structure solved

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2:40pm, December 11, 2007

From Washington, D.C., at a meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology

In a challenge that's like solving a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, scientists have worked out how 456 proteins fit together to form a doughnut-shaped gateway to the cell's nucleus.

Many such gateways cover the nucleus like polka dots, and they control what protein can pass through to reach the DNA inside. Knowing the structure of the gateway—called a nuclear-pore complex (NPC)—could improve scientists' understanding of why some large molecules can enter the nucleus and others cannot.

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