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EMBO J. 2010 May 19;29(10):1659-73. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2010.54. Epub 2010 Apr 20.

Protein Tpr is required for establishing nuclear pore-associated zones of heterochromatin exclusion.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Göttingen, Germany.


Amassments of heterochromatin in somatic cells occur in close contact with the nuclear envelope (NE) but are gapped by channel- and cone-like zones that appear largely free of heterochromatin and associated with the nuclear pore complexes (NPCs). To identify proteins involved in forming such heterochromatin exclusion zones (HEZs), we used a cell culture model in which chromatin condensation induced by poliovirus (PV) infection revealed HEZs resembling those in normal tissue cells. HEZ occurrence depended on the NPC-associated protein Tpr and its large coiled coil-forming domain. RNAi-mediated loss of Tpr allowed condensing chromatin to occur all along the NE's nuclear surface, resulting in HEZs no longer being established and NPCs covered by heterochromatin. These results assign a central function to Tpr as a determinant of perinuclear organization, with a direct role in forming a morphologically distinct nuclear sub-compartment and delimiting heterochromatin distribution.

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