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Importin is a type of protein that moves other protein molecules into the nucleus by binding to a specific recognition sequence, called the nuclear localization signal (NLS). Importin is classified as a karyopherin.[1][2]

Importin has two subunits, importin α and importin β. Of these, importin α binds to the NLS of the protein to be imported to the nucleus whereas importin β helps in the docking of the importin heterodimer-bound protein to the nuclear pore complex. The NLS-Importin α-Importin β trimer dissociates after binding to Ran GTP inside the nucleus.[3]



  1. ^
  2. ^ Görlich D, Prehn S, Laskey RA, Hartmann E (1994). "Isolation of a protein that is essential for the first step of nuclear protein import". Cell 79 (5): 767–78. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(94)90067-1. PMID 8001116.  
  3. ^ Mattaj IW, Englmeier L (1998). "Nucleocytoplasmic transport: the soluble phase". Annu. Rev. Biochem. 67: 265–306. doi:10.1146/annurev.biochem.67.1.265. PMID 9759490.  

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