Biophysical mechanisms of viral transport into the cell nucleus


To infect a eukaryotic cell, many types of viruses need to overcome the nuclear envelope that forms a barrier to macromolecular transport between the cell cytoplasm and the nucleus. To do so, they exploit the pathway provided by the nuclear pore complex, the main gate for all nucleocytoplasmic transport. In this project, we will use biophysical approaches to image and probe the nuclear pore complex to understand the mechanisms by which it achieves transport of large cargoes yet maintain selectivity.

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Zaitseva, L., Myers, R. & Fassati, A. tRNAs promote nuclear import of HIV-1 intracellular reverse transcription complexes. PLoS Biol 4, e332 (2006).


Adams, R. L. & Wente, S. R. Uncovering nuclear pore complexity with innovation. Cell 152, 1218-1221 (2013).


Osmanovi?, D., Fassati, A., Ford, I. J. & Hoogenboom, B. W. Physical modelling of the nuclear pore complex. Soft Matter 9(44), 10442-10451 (2013).


Bestembayeva, A., et al. Nanoscale stiffness topography reveals structure and mechanics of the transport barrier in intact nuclear pore complexes. Under review for Nat. Nanotechnol. (2014).

Biological Areas:

Cell Biology
Structural Biology


Molecules, cells and industrial biotechnology