Reprint of: Importins in the maintenance and lineage commitment of ES cells
The nucleus of a eukaryotic cell is separated from the cytoplasm by a nuclear envelope, and nuclear pores within the envelope facilitate nucleocytoplasmic transport and the exchange of information. Gene regulation is a key component of biological activity regulation in the cell. Transcription factors control the expression levels of various genes that are necessary for the maintenance or conversion of cellular states during animal development. Because transcription factor activities determine the extent of transcription of target genes, the number of active transcription factors must be tightly regulated. In this regard, the nuclear translocation of a transcription factor is an important determinant of its activity. Therefore, it is becoming clear that the nucleocytoplasmic transport machinery is involved in cell differentiation and organism development. This review examines the regulation of transcription factors by the nucleocytoplasmic transport machinery in ES cells.