The nuclear envelope comprises a distinct compartment at the nuclear periphery that provides a platform for communication between the nucleus and cytoplasm. Signal transfer can proceed by multiple means. Primarily, this is by nucleocytoplasmic trafficking facilitated by NPCs (nuclear pore complexes). Recently, it has been indicated that signals can be transmitted from the cytoskeleton to the intranuclear structures via interlinking transmembrane proteins. In animal cells, the nuclear lamina tightly underlies the inner nuclear membrane and thus represents the protein structure located at the furthest boundary of the nucleus. It enables communication between the nucleus and the cytoplasm via its interactions with chromatin-binding proteins, transmembrane and membrane-associated proteins. Of particular interest is the interaction of the nuclear lamina with NPCs. As both structures fulfil essential roles in close proximity at the nuclear periphery, their interactions have a large impact on cellular processes resulting in affects on tissue differentiation and development. The present review concentrates on the structural and functional lamina–NPC relationship in animal cells and its potential implications to plants.
Eukaryotic cells have developed a series of highly controlled processes of transport between the nucleus and cytoplasm. The present review focuses on the latest advances in our understanding of nucleocytoplasmic exchange of molecules in yeast, a widely studied model organism in the field. It concentrates on the role of individual proteins such as nucleoporins and karyopherins in the translocation process and relates this to how the organization of the nuclear pore complex effectively facilitates the bidirectional transport between the two compartments.
Lamins are intermediate filament proteins that form a network lining the inner nuclear membrane. They provide mechanical strength to the nuclear envelope, but also appear to have many other functions as reflected in the array of diseases caused by lamin mutations. Unlike other intermediate filament proteins, they do not self-assemble into 10 nm filaments in vitro and their in vivo organization is uncertain. We have recently re-examined the organization of a simple B-type lamina in Xenopus oocytes [Goldberg, Huttenlauch, Hutchison and Stick (2008) J. Cell Sci. 121 , 215–225] and shown that it consists of tightly packed 8–10 nm filaments with regular cross-connections, tightly opposed to the membrane. When lamin A is expressed in oocytes, it forms organized bundles on top of the B lamina. This has led to a new model for lamina organization which is discussed in the present paper.