The genetic information encoded in nuclear mRNA destined to reach the cytoplasm requires the interaction of the mRNA molecule with the nuclear pore complex (NPC) for the process of mRNA export. Numerous proteins have important roles in the transport of mRNA out of the nucleus. The NPC embedded in the nuclear envelope is the port of exit for mRNA and is composed of ∼30 unique proteins, nucleoporins, forming the distinct structures of the nuclear basket, the pore channel and cytoplasmic filaments. Together, they serve as a rather stationary complex engaged in mRNA export, while a variety of soluble protein factors dynamically assemble on the mRNA and mediate the interactions of the mRNA with the NPC. mRNA export factors are recruited to and dissociate from the mRNA at the site of transcription on the gene, during the journey through the nucleoplasm and at the nuclear pore at the final stages of export. In this review, we present the current knowledge derived from biochemical, molecular, structural and imaging studies, to develop a high-resolution picture of the many events that culminate in the successful passage of the mRNA out of the nucleus.

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