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Nuclear membrane disassembly and rupture

Cotter, Laura; Allen, Terrence D; Kiseleva, Elena; Goldberg, Martin W

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Laura Cotter

Terrence D Allen

Elena Kiseleva


The nuclear envelope consists of two membranes traversed by nuclear pore complexes. The outer membrane is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum. At mitosis nuclear pore complexes are dismantled and membranes disperse. The mechanism of dispersal is controversial: one view is that membranes feed into the endoplasmic reticulum, another is that they vesiculate. Using Xenopus egg extracts, nuclei have been assembled and then induced to breakdown by addition of metaphase extract. Field emission scanning electron microscopy was used to study disassembly. Strikingly, endoplasmic reticulum-like membrane tubules form from the nuclear surface after the addition of metaphase extracts, but vesicles were also observed. Microtubule inhibitors slowed but did not prevent membrane removal, whereas Brefeldin A, which inhibits vesicle formation, stops membrane disassembly, suggesting that vesiculation is necessary. Structures that looked like coated buds were observed and buds were labelled for β-COP. We show that nuclear pore complexes are dismantled and the pore closed prior to membrane rupturing, suggesting that rupturing is an active process rather than a result of enlargement of nuclear pores.


Cotter, L., Allen, T. D., Kiseleva, E., & Goldberg, M. W. (2007). Nuclear membrane disassembly and rupture. Journal of Molecular Biology, 369(3), 683-695.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2007
Deposit Date Feb 12, 2009
Publicly Available Date Feb 12, 2009
Journal Journal of Molecular Biology
Print ISSN 0022-2836
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 369
Issue 3
Pages 683-695
Keywords Nuclear envelope, Pore complex, Disassembly.


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