We describe a procedure for the preparation of sealed nuclear-envelope vesicles from rat liver nuclei. These vesicles are strikingly similar in their polypeptide composition when compared with those of nuclear envelopes prepared conventionally using deoxyribonuclease I. Subfractionation analysis by means of extraction with high salt and urea show that the components of the nuclear envelope, e.g. the pore-complex/lamina fraction, are present. The residual DNA content is only 1.5%, and typical preparations consist of about 80% vesicles, with the vesicular character of these envelopes shown by microscopic and biochemical studies. The vesicles can be obtained in high yield, are tight and stable for at least two days and are enriched in a nucleoside triphosphatase thought to be involved in nucleocytoplasmic transport processes. Because the vesicles are largely free of components of the nuclear interior, but retain properties of intact nuclei, we believe that they are a valuable model system to study nucleocytoplasmic transport. Although in transport studies with isolated nuclei interference from intranuclear events has to be considered, the nuclear-envelope vesicles provide the possibility of studying translocation alone. Furthermore, the less complex nature of these vesicles compared with whole nuclei should facilitate investigation of the components involved in the regulation of nuclear transport processes.

This content is only available as a PDF.