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Chromosoma. 2007 Jun;116(3):227-35. Epub 2007 Jan 24.

The granulocyte nucleus and lamin B receptor: avoiding the ovoid.

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Department of Medical Genetics, Charite Humboldt University, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany.


The major human blood granulocyte, the neutrophil, is an essential component of the innate immunity system, emigrating from blood vessels and migrating through tight tissue spaces to the site of bacterial or fungal infection where they kill and phagocytose invading microbes. Since the late nineteenth century, it has been recognized that the human neutrophil nucleus is distinctly not ovoid as in other cell types, but possesses a lobulated (segmented) shape. This deformable nucleus enhances rapid migration. Recent studies have demonstrated that lamin B receptor (LBR) is necessary for the non-ovoid shape. LBR is an integral membrane protein of the nuclear envelope. A single dominant mutation in humans leads to neutrophils with hypolobulated nuclei (Pelger-Huet anomaly); homozygosity leads to ovoid granulocyte nuclei. Interestingly, LBR is also an enzyme involved in cholesterol metabolism. Homozygosity for null mutations is frequently lethal and associated with severe skeletal deformities. In addition to the necessity for LBR, formation of the mature granulocyte nucleus also depends upon lamin composition and microtubule integrity. These observations are part of a larger question on the relationships between nuclear shape and cellular function.

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