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Nucleus. 2011 May-Jun;2(3):162-7. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201101046.

Gene expression, chromosome position and lamin A/C mutations.

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Department of Medicine; The University of Chicago, IL, USA.


The nuclear lamina is increasingly being appreciated for its epigenetic role in regulating gene expression. The nuclear lamina underlies the inner nuclear membrane and, in post mitotic cells, is composed of a latticework primarily formed by the intermediate filament protein, lamin A/C. Although not well defined, lamin-associated domains have been described, and these domains are determined by DNA sequence and chromatin conformation. Lamin-associated domains are positioned to mediate the interaction with the nuclear membrane, where they contribute to transcriptional regulation. Although lamin-associated domains are primarily considered to be repressive in nature, those nearer to nuclear pores may actually promote transcription. Mutations in LMNA, the gene encoding lamins A and C, are a relatively common cause of inherited cardiomyopathy. As substantial data supports a role for the lamina in its interaction with chromatin and gene regulation, we examined the role of a genetically disrupted lamina and the consequences thereof. A dominant LMNA mutation, E161K, that causes inherited cardiomyopathy was studied. Gene expression changes were profiled in a human cardiomyopathic E161K heart, and it was found that chromosome 13 had a high percentage of misexpressed genes. Chromosome 13 was also found to be less tightly associated with the nuclear membrane in E161K mutant cells, thereby linking abnormal gene expression and intranuclear position. These and other studies support a role for the nuclear membrane as an active regulator of gene expression and provide additional support that disrupting this regulation is a mechanism of human disease.


LINC complex; LMNA; chromosome territory; gene expression

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