The coming-of-age of nucleocytoplasmic transport in motor neuron disease and neurodegeneration.
The nuclear pore is the gatekeeper of nucleocytoplasmic transport and signaling through which a vast flux of information is continuously exchanged between the nuclear and cytoplasmic compartments to maintain cellular homeostasis. A unifying and organizing principle has recently emerged that cements the notion that several forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and growing number of other neurodegenerative diseases, co-opt the dysregulation of nucleocytoplasmic transport and that this impairment is a pathogenic driver of neurodegeneration. The understanding of shared pathomechanisms that underpin neurodegenerative diseases with impairments in nucleocytoplasmic transport and how these interface with current concepts of nucleocytoplasmic transport is bound to illuminate this fundamental biological process in a yet more physiological context. Here, I summarize unresolved questions and evidence and extend basic and critical concepts and challenges of nucleocytoplasmic transport and its role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS. These principles will help to appreciate the roles of nucleocytoplasmic transport in the pathogenesis of ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases, and generate a framework for new ideas of the susceptibility of motoneurons, and possibly other neurons, to degeneration by dysregulation of nucleocytoplasmic transport.
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