Morphological abnormalities of the bounding membranes of the nucleus have long been associated with human diseases from cancer to premature aging to neurodegeneration. Studies over the past few decades support that there are both cell intrinsic and extrinsic factors (e.g. mechanical force) that can lead to nuclear envelope ‘herniations’, a broad catch-all term that reveals little about the underlying molecular mechanisms that contribute to these morphological defects. While there are many genetic perturbations that could ultimately change nuclear shape, here, we focus on a subset of nuclear envelope herniations that likely arise as a consequence of disrupting physiological nuclear membrane remodeling pathways required to maintain nuclear envelope homeostasis. For example, stalling of the interphase nuclear pore complex (NPC) biogenesis pathway and/or triggering of NPC quality control mechanisms can lead to herniations in budding yeast, which are remarkably similar to those observed in human disease models of early-onset dystonia. By also examining the provenance of nuclear envelope herniations associated with emerging nuclear autophagy and nuclear egress pathways, we will provide a framework to help understand the molecular pathways that contribute to nuclear deformation.

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