Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) are very selective filters that sit on the membrane of the nucleus and monitor the transport between the cytoplasm and the nucleoplasm. For the central plug of NPC two models have been suggested in the literature. The first suggests that the plug is a reversible hydrogel while the other suggests that it is a polymer brush. Here we propose a model for the transport of a protein through the plug, which is general enough to cover both the models. The protein stretches the plug and creates a local deformation, which together with the protein, we refer to as the bubble. We start with the free energy for creation of the bubble and consider its motion within the plug. The relevant coordinate is the center of the bubble which executes random walk. We find that for faster relaxation of the gel, the diffusion of the bubble is greater. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.