Signalling between cytosol and nucleus is mediated by nuclear pores. These supramolecular complexes represent intelligent nanomachines regulated by a wide spectrum of factors. Among them, steroid hormones specifically interact with the pores and thus modify ion conductivity and macromolecule permeability of the nuclear envelope. In response to aldosterone the pores undergo dramatic changes in conformation, changes that depend on the nature of the transported cargo. Such changes can be imaged at the nanometer scale by using atomic force microscopy. Furthermore, steroid-induced macromolecule transport across the nuclear envelope causes osmotic water movements and nuclear swelling. Drugs that interact with intracellular steroid receptors (spironolactone) or with plasma membrane sodium channels (amiloride) inhibit swelling. Steroid hormone action is blocked when nuclear volume changes are prevented. This is shown in frog oocytes and human endothelial cells. In conclusion, nuclear pores serve as steroid-sensitive gates that determine nuclear activity.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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