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J Cell Sci. 2003 Jul 15;116(Pt 14):3027-35. Epub 2003 Jun 3.

Effect of pathogenic mis-sense mutations in lamin A on its interaction with emerin in vivo.

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Biochemistry Group, North East Wales Institute, Wrexham LL11 2AW, UK.


Mutations in lamin A/C can cause Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD) or a related cardiomyopathy (CMD1A). Using transfection of lamin-A/C-deficient fibroblasts, we have studied the effects of nine pathogenic mutations on the ability of lamin A to assemble normally and to localize emerin normally at the nuclear rim. Five mutations in the rod domain (L85R, N195K, E358K, M371K and R386K) affected the assembly of the lamina. With the exception of mutant L85R, all rod domain mutants induced the formation of large nucleoplasmic foci in about 10% of all nuclei. The presence of emerin in these foci suggests that the interaction of lamin A with emerin is not directly affected by the rod domain mutations. Three mutations in the tail region, R453W, W520S and R527P, might directly affect emerin binding by disrupting the structure of the putative emerin-binding site, because mutant lamin A localized normally to the nuclear rim but its ability to trap emerin was impaired. Nucleoplasmic foci rarely formed in these three cases (<2%) but, when they did so, emerin was absent, consistent with a direct effect of the mutations on emerin binding. The lipodystrophy mutation R482Q, which causes a different phenotype and is believed to act through an emerin-independent mechanism, was indistinguishable from wild-type in its localization and its ability to trap emerin at the nuclear rim. The novel hypothesis suggested by the data is that EDMD/CMD1A mutations in the tail domain of lamin A/C work by direct impairment of emerin interaction, whereas mutations in the rod region cause defective lamina assembly that might or might not impair emerin capture at the nuclear rim. Subtle effects on the function of the lamina-emerin complex in EDMD/CMD1A patients might be responsible for the skeletal and/or cardiac muscle phenotype.

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