The nuclear pore complex (NPC) is responsible for nucleocytoplasmic transport and constitutes a hub for control of gene expression. The components of NPCs from several eukaryotic lineages have been determined, but only the yeast and vertebrate NPCs have been extensively characterized at the quaternary level. Significantly, recent evidence indicates that compositional similarity does not necessarily correspond to homologous architecture between NPCs from different taxa. To address this, we describe the interactome of the trypanosome NPC, a representative, highly divergent eukaryote. We identify numerous new NPC components and report an exhaustive interactome, allowing assignment of trypanosome nucleoporins to discrete NPC substructures. Remarkably, despite retaining similar protein composition, there are exceptional architectural dissimilarities between opisthokont (yeast and vertebrates) and excavate (trypanosomes) NPCs. Whilst elements of the inner core are conserved, numerous peripheral structures are highly divergent, perhaps reflecting requirements to interface with divergent nuclear and cytoplasmic functions. Moreover, the trypanosome NPC has almost complete nucleocytoplasmic symmetry, in contrast to the opisthokont NPC; this may reflect divergence in RNA export processes at the NPC cytoplasmic face, as we find evidence supporting Ran-dependent mRNA export in trypanosomes, similar to protein transport. We propose a model of stepwise acquisition of nucleocytoplasmic mechanistic complexity and demonstrate that detailed dissection of macromolecular complexes provides fuller understanding of evolutionary processes.
Obado, S. O., Brillantes, M., Uryu, K., Zhang, W., Ketaren, N. E., Chait, B. T., Field, M. C., & Rout, M. P. (2016). Interactome mapping reveals the evolutionary history of the nuclear pore complex. PLoS Biology, 14(2), [ e1002365]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002365