The gene gating hypothesis put forth by Blobel in 1985 was an alluring proposal outlining functions for the nuclear pore complex (NPC) in transcription and nuclear architecture. Over the past several decades, collective studies have unveiled a full catalog of nucleoporins (Nups) that comprise the NPC, structural arrangements of Nups in the nuclear pore, and mechanisms of nucleocytoplasmic transport. With this foundation, investigations of the gene gating hypothesis have now become possible. Studies of several model organisms provide credence for Nup functions in transcription, mRNA export, and genome organization. Surprisingly, Nups are not only involved in transcriptional events that occur at the nuclear periphery, but there are also novel roles for dynamic Nups within the nucleoplasmic compartment. Several tenants of the original gene gating hypothesis have yet to be addressed. Knowledge of whether the NPC impacts the organization of the genome to control subsets of genes is limited, and the cooperating molecular machinery or specific genomic anchoring sequences are not fully resolved. This minireview summarizes the current evidence for gene gating in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, and mammalian model systems. These examples highlight new and unpredicted mechanisms for Nup impacts on transcription and questions that are left to be explored.
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