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I am reading the textbook 'Molecular Biology of the Cell', and I am reading the chapter about the compartmentalisation of cells. I have come across the following statement:

The nucleus and the cytosol, which communicate with each other through nuclear pore complexes and are topologically continuous (although functionally distinct).

With regards to the above statement, what is meant by 'topologically continuous'? Any insights are appreciated.

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  • $\begingroup$ Note that I think this type of question would be better for a language forum. ——— As far as I can see this sentence would mean the same thing with "topologically" removed and thus appears to represent an author adding unneeded words because it sounds more impressive. $\endgroup$ – tyersome Mar 27 at 1:05
  • $\begingroup$ The word is needed to distinguish from functional continuity. Imagine how ridiculous the sentence would be without those 2 words: "The nucleus and the cytosol, are (topologically) continuous, although (functionally) not continuous. $\endgroup$ – KaPy3141 Mar 27 at 7:05
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What "topologically continuous" appears to mean in this context is that materials can flow between them.

So far as I am aware, this is not a well-defined mathematical term, which is part of what makes this confusing. In topology, some spaces are continuous and others are not, but the meaning of "continuous" in topology is rather more general than the authors usage here.

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