ABSTRACT: Lamins build the nuclear lamina and are required for chromatin organization, gene expression, cell cycle progression, and mechanical stabilization. Despite these universal functions, lamins have so far been found only in metazoans. We have identified protein NE81 in Dictyostelium, which has properties that justify its denomination as a lamin-like protein in a lower eukaryote. This is based on its primary structure, subcellular localization, and regulation during mitosis, and its requirement of the C-terminal CaaX box as a posttranslational processing signal for proper localization. Our knockout and overexpression mutants revealed an important role for NE81 in nuclear integrity, chromatin organization, and mechanical stability of cells. All our results are in agreement with a role for NE81 in formation of a nuclear lamina. This function is corroborated by localization of Dictyostelium NE81 at the nuclear envelope in human cells. The discovery of a lamin-like protein in a unicellular organism is not only intriguing in light of evolution, it may also provide a simple experimental platform for studies of the molecular basis of laminopathies.
Molecular biology of the cell 11/2011; 23(2):360-70. · 5.98 Impact Factor