Russian scientists discover a new function of the nucleus lamina proteins

gene
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A group of Russian scientists has discovered a new function of nuclear lamina (NL) proteins: to arrange the genetic material inside cells. Understanding the mechanisms involved in gene packaging will help researchers to control and regulate the work of genes. The results of the study were published in Nature Communications.

The NL lines the living organisms' cell nuclei from the inside, with its proteins being the key helpers for the cell nucleus. It is well understood that the NL is responsible for the intranuclear chromatin architecture and that mutations in its proteins can lead to severe pathologies, such as progeria, which presents as rapid premature aging. The chromosome packing density varies inside the nucleus, with smaller densely compacted areas remaining inactive and expanded areas containing highly active . The NL proteins are capable of changing chromatin structure and density.

In their new study, a large group of scientists, which included researchers from Skoltech, found new facts about the processes running in the . Their model object was Drosophila, which has become a fixture in scientific experiments and discoveries. The researchers analyzed chromatin and the NL it interacts with using advanced laboratory and bioinformatics methods, and found that the NL plays a dual role in chromatin organization.

"We conducted an experiment jointly with our colleagues from the Institute of Gene Biology, RAS, in which we destroyed the NL in Drosophila's and looked at how this affects the packaging of chromosomes inside the nucleus. We could clearly see that once the NL was destroyed, the chromosomes moved away from the nuclear envelope, forming a more densely packed pattern. Having applied fluorescent paint to the chromosomes, we studied them under the microscope and noticed that the dense chromatin globules that had been attached to the NL started to unfurl as they moved farther away from the lamina. Then our colleagues from the MSU Physics Department made simulations and showed that a single contact with the NL is enough for the chromatin globules to become more compact. It turns out that the NL makes the parts of the chromosomes it comes in direct contact with more condensed, while reducing the overall packing density of the within the nucleus," explains Skoltech researcher Ekaterina Khrameeva.

The packaging in the nucleus affects the work of genes. Each study in the field of organization in the is an important step towards the future where we can manage our genes.


Explore further

Scientists reveal how 3-D arrangement of DNA helps perpetuate the species

More information: Sergey V. Ulianov et al. Nuclear lamina integrity is required for proper spatial organization of chromatin in Drosophila, Nature Communications (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09185-y
Journal information: Nature Communications

Citation: Russian scientists discover a new function of the nucleus lamina proteins (2019, April 4) retrieved 22 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-russian-scientists-function-nucleus-lamina.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
14 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more