Functional architecture of the cell's nucleus in development, aging, and disease.
In eukaryotes, the function of the cell's nucleus has primarily been considered to be the repository for the organism's genome. However, this rather simplistic view is undergoing a major shift, as it is increasingly apparent that the nucleus has functions extending beyond being a mere genome container. Recent findings have revealed that the structural composition of the nucleus changes during development and that many of these components exhibit cell- and tissue-specific differences. Increasing evidence is pointing to the nucleus being integral to the function of the interphase cytoskeleton, with changes to nuclear structural proteins having ramifications affecting cytoskeletal organization and the cell's interactions with the extracellular environment. Many of these functions originate at the nuclear periphery, comprising the nuclear envelope (NE) and underlying lamina. Together, they may act as a "hub" in integrating cellular functions including chromatin organization, transcriptional regulation, mechanosignaling, cytoskeletal organization, and signaling pathways. Interest in such an integral role has been largely stimulated by the discovery that many diseases and anomalies are caused by defects in proteins of the NE/lamina, the nuclear envelopathies, many of which, though rare, are providing insights into their more common variants that are some of the major issues of the twenty-first century public health. Here, we review the contributions that mouse mutants have made to our current understanding of the NE/lamina, their respective roles in disease and the use of mice in developing potential therapies for treating the diseases.
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