Nucleoporin downregulation modulates progenitor differentiation independent of nuclear pore numbers

Amy E. Neely, Yang Zhang*, Laura A. Blumensaadt, Hongjing Mao, Benjamin Brenner, Cheng Sun, Hao F. Zhang, Xiaomin Bao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nucleoporins (NUPs) comprise nuclear pore complexes, gateways for nucleocytoplasmic transport. As primary human keratinocytes switch from the progenitor state towards differentiation, most NUPs are strongly downregulated, with NUP93 being the most downregulated NUP in this process. To determine if this NUP downregulation is accompanied by a reduction in nuclear pore numbers, we leveraged Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy. No significant changes in nuclear pore numbers were detected using three independent NUP antibodies; however, NUP reduction in other subcellular compartments such as the cytoplasm was identified. To investigate how NUP reduction influences keratinocyte differentiation, we knocked down NUP93 in keratinocytes in the progenitor-state culture condition. NUP93 knockdown diminished keratinocytes’ clonogenicity and epidermal regenerative capacity, without drastically affecting nuclear pore numbers or permeability. Using transcriptome profiling, we identified that NUP93 knockdown induces differentiation genes related to both mechanical and immune barrier functions, including the activation of known NF-κB target genes. Consistently, keratinocytes with NUP93 knockdown exhibited increased nuclear localization of the NF-κB p65/p50 transcription factors, and increased NF-κB reporter activity. Taken together, these findings highlight the gene regulatory roles contributed by differential NUP expression levels in keratinocyte differentiation, independent of nuclear pore numbers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1033
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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