Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group
Beckman Institute, Room 3117
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
405 N. Mathews
Urbana, IL 61801

Home Department: Physics


Phone: 217-244-1851
Fax: 217-244-6078



Nuclear pore binding
Nuclear pore protein (yellow) binding to NTF2 (colored according to residue conservation) from molecular dynamics simulation
Nuclear Pore Complex

The nuclear pore complex is a very large macromolecular protein assembly which allows certain proteins to be transported into or out of the cell nucleus. In order to be transported, a protein must be bound to a second protein called the transport receptor. The mechanism by which the pore achieves selectivity, allowing "good" proteins to cross the nuclear envelope while restricting the "bad", is unknown. It is known, however, that nuclear pore complex FG repeat proteins are essential in the transport process and have been shown by experiment to bind transport receptors. Importin-β, for instance, is a transport receptor which has been shown experimentally to contain four binding spots for repeat proteins, two near its N-terminus and two near its C-terminus. Our current research utilizes molecular dynamics simulations to both verify these experimental binding spots and determine other potential binding spots on the surfaces of transport receptors such as importin-β and NTF2 in order to understand how the nuclear pore complex acts as such an efficient sorting machine. Research also focuses on the dynamics of nuclear pore complex proteins in solution alone to gain an understanding of the pore's behavior in the absence of transport complexes.

For more information, see our nuclear pore complex research page.


Invited Lectures:

  • "The Association of Nuclear Pore FG-repeat Proteins and Transport Receptors"
          University of California, Santa Cruz & University of California, Merced, February 2007.

  • "Computational Studies of Nuclear Pore Complex Transport Dynamics"
          Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminar Series, January 2007.

  • "Molecular dynamics simulations of nuclear pore FG repeat proteins binding to importin-β"
          Biophysical Society National Meeting, February 2005.

  • "Analysis of the Accuracy Achieved by Fourier Path-Integral Monte Carlo Thermodynamic Computations in the Combustion Regime"
          ACS National Meeting, Poster Presentation, Summer 2000.