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J Cell Sci. 2009 May 15;122(Pt 10):1477-86. doi: 10.1242/jcs.037333.

Sizing up the nucleus: nuclear shape, size and nuclear-envelope assembly.

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  • 1The Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology, NIDDK, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The nucleus is one of the most prominent cellular organelles, yet surprisingly little is known about how it is formed, what determines its shape and what defines its size. As the nuclear envelope (NE) disassembles in each and every cell cycle in metazoans, the process of rebuilding the nucleus is crucial for proper development and cell proliferation. In this Commentary, we summarize what is known about the regulation of nuclear shape and size, and highlight recent findings that shed light on the process of building a nucleus, including new discoveries related to NE assembly and the relationship between the NE and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Throughout our discussion, we note interesting aspects of nuclear structure that have yet to be resolved. Finally, we present an idea - which we refer to as ;the limited flat membrane hypothesis' - to explain the formation of a single nucleus that encompasses of all of the cell's chromosomes following mitosis.

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