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Issue 3, 2007
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Nuclear pores and membrane holes: generic models for confined chains and entropic barriers in pore stabilization

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Abstract

The lumen of the nuclear pore complex is increasingly understood to be lined by a polymer brush that entropically regulates transport in and out of the nucleus—and it seems likely that similar effects probably arise with glycocalyx-lined holes in cell membranes. Here we mimic such pore-confined brushes with self-assembled polymer membranes imbued with nano-holes. Experiment and theory help elucidate the entropic origin and stabilization of the pores, which appear to have a similar basis as steric stabilization of colloids bearing polymer brushes. Free energies of interacting brushes reveal stable minima at pore sizes smaller than the classical metastable point, with little effect of the particular pore geometry. Such entropic forces have potential implications for lock and key mechanisms of nuclear pore assembly as well as transient poration of cells and synthetic nano-pores with regulatory mechanisms for transport.

Graphical abstract: Nuclear pores and membrane holes: generic models for confined chains and entropic barriers in pore stabilization

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Aug 2006, accepted on 04 Oct 2006 and first published on 27 Oct 2006


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B611412C
Citation: Soft Matter, 2007,3, 364-371
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    Nuclear pores and membrane holes: generic models for confined chains and entropic barriers in pore stabilization

    P. J. Photos, H. Bermudez, H. Aranda-Espinoza, J. Shillcock and D. E. Discher, Soft Matter, 2007, 3, 364
    DOI: 10.1039/B611412C

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