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Mol Biol Cell. 2000 Sep;11(9):3089-99.

C. elegans nuclear envelope proteins emerin, MAN1, lamin, and nucleoporins reveal unique timing of nuclear envelope breakdown during mitosis.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Emerin, MAN1, and LAP2 are integral membrane proteins of the vertebrate nuclear envelope. They share a 43-residue N-terminal motif termed the LEM domain. We found three putative LEM domain genes in Caenorhabditis elegans, designated emr-1, lem-2, and lem-3. We analyzed emr-l, which encodes Ce-emerin, and lem-2, which encodes Ce-MAN1. Ce-emerin and Ce-MAN1 migrate on SDS-PAGE as 17- and 52-kDa proteins, respectively. Based on their biochemical extraction properties and immunolocalization, both Ce-emerin and Ce-MAN1 are integral membrane proteins localized at the nuclear envelope. We used antibodies against Ce-MAN1, Ce-emerin, nucleoporins, and Ce-lamin to determine the timing of nuclear envelope breakdown during mitosis in C. elegans. The C. elegans nuclear envelope disassembles very late compared with vertebrates and Drosophila. The nuclear membranes remained intact everywhere except near spindle poles during metaphase and early anaphase, fully disassembling only during mid-late anaphase. Disassembly of pore complexes, and to a lesser extent the lamina, depended on embryo age: pore complexes were absent during metaphase in >30-cell embryos but existed until anaphase in 2- to 24-cell embryos. Intranuclear mRNA splicing factors disassembled after prophase. The timing of nuclear disassembly in C. elegans is novel and may reflect its evolutionary position between unicellular and more complex eukaryotes.

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