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J Exp Bot. 2003 Mar;54(384):943-50.

The first 238 amino acids of the human lamin B receptor are targeted to the nuclear envelope in plants.

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  • 1Research School of Biological and Molecular Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK.


In plants, the nuclear envelope (NE) is one of the least characterized cellular structures. In particular, little is known about its dynamics during the cell cycle. This is due to the absence of specific markers for in vivo studies. To generate such an in vivo marker, the suitability of the human lamin B receptor (LBR) was tested. When the first 238 amino acids of the LBR, fused to the green fluorescent protein (GFP), were expressed in tobacco plants, fluorescence accumulated only at the NE of leaf epidermal cells. This was confirmed by electron microscopy. The protein was shown to be membrane-integral by phase separation. Distribution of fluorescence was compared with two ER markers, GFP-calnexin and GFP-HDEL. While co-localization of all three markers was noted at the NE, only LBR-GFP was specific to the NE, while the other two also showed fluorescence of the cortical ER. These results suggest that common targeting mechanisms to those in animals and fungi exist in plants to direct and locate proteins to the NE. This chimaeric construct is the first available fluorescent integral membrane protein marker to be targeted exclusively to the plant NE and it provides a novel opportunity to investigate the dynamics of this membrane system in vivo. With it, the cell cycle was followed in tobacco BY-2 cells stably expressing the fusion protein. The interphase labelling of the NE altered in metaphase into an ER-like meshwork, suggesting the dispersal of the NE to ER as in animal cells. Finally, the meshwork of fluorescent membranes was lost and new fluorescent NE formed around the daughter nuclei.

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