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Mol Biol Cell. 2008 Dec;19(12):5289-95. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E08-05-0517. Epub 2008 Oct 15.

Lipid microdomains in cell nucleus.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Physiopathology Section, University School of Medicine, University of Perugia, Policlinico Monteluce, 06100 Perugia, Italy.


It is known that nuclear lipids play a role in proliferation, differentiation, and apoptotic process. Cellular nuclei contain high levels of phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, which are partially linked with cholesterol and proteins to form lipid-protein complexes. These lipids are also associated with transcription factors and newly synthesized RNA but, up to date, their organization is still unknown. The aim of the present work was to study if these specific lipid-protein interactions could be nuclear membrane microdomains and to evaluate their possible role. The results obtained demonstrate for the first time the existence of nuclear microdomains characterized by a specific lipid composition similar to that of intranuclear lipid-protein complexes previously described. Nuclear microdomain lipid composition changes during cell proliferation when the content of newly synthesized RNA increases. Because previous data show a correlation between nuclear lipids and transcription process, the role of nuclear microdomains in cellular functions is discussed.

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