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Curr Biol. 2006 Sep 5;16(17):1748-56.

MEL-28, a novel nuclear-envelope and kinetochore protein essential for zygotic nuclear-envelope assembly in C. elegans.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.


The nuclear envelope (NE) of eukaryotic cells separates nucleoplasm from cytoplasm, mediates nucleo-cytoplasmic transport, and contributes to the control of gene expression. The NE consists of three major components: the nuclear membranes, the nuclear pore complexes (NPCs), and the nuclear lamina. The list of identified NE proteins has increased considerably during recent years but is most likely not complete. In most eukaryotes, the NE breaks down and is then reassembled during mitosis. The assembly of NPCs and the association and fusion of nuclear membranes around decondensing chromosomes are tightly coordinated processes. Here, we report the identification and characterization of MEL-28, a large protein essential for the assembly of a functional NE in C. elegans embryos. RNAi depletion or genetic mutation of mel-28 severely impairs nuclear morphology and leads to abnormal distribution of both integral NE proteins and NPCs. The structural defects of the NE were associated with functional defects and lack of nuclear exclusion of soluble proteins. MEL-28 localizes to NPCs during interphase, to kinetochores in early to middle mitosis then is widely distributed on chromatin late in mitosis. We show that MEL-28 is an early-assembling, stable NE component required for all aspects of NE assembly.

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