Nuclear envelope proteins and chromatin arrangement: A pathogenic mechanism for laminopathies

Nadir M. Maraldi, G. Lattanzi, C. Capanni, M. Columbaro, L. Merlini, E. Mattioli, P. Sabatelli, S. Squarzoni, F. A. Manzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The involvement of the nuclear envelope in the modulation of chromatin organization is strongly suggested by the increasing number of human diseases due to mutations of nuclear envelope proteins. A common feature of these diseases, named laminopathies, is the occurrence of major chromatin defects. Laminopathies share in some instances their clinical features, but each of them is characterized by a phenotype that involves one or multiple tissues. We previously reported that cells from laminopathic patients show an altered nuclear profile, and loss or detachment of heterochromatin from the nuclear envelope. Recent evidence indicates that processing of the lamin A precursor is altered in laminopathies featuring pre-mature aging and/or lipodystrophy phenotype. In these cases, pre-lamin A is accumulated in the nucleus and heterochromatin is severely disorganized. Moreover, altered distribution and solubility properties of heterochromatin-associated proteins such as HP1 are observed. These findings indicate that defects of chromatin remodeling are involved in the cascade of epigenetic events leading to the laminopathic phenotypes. Here we report evidence indicating that pre-lamin A is mis-localized in the nuclei of Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy fibroblasts, either bearing lamin A/C or emerin mutations. Abnornal pre-lamin A-containing structures are formed following treatment with a farnesyl-transferase inhibitor, a drug that causes accumulation of non-farnesylated pre-lamin A. Pre-lamin A-labeled structures co-localize with heterochromatin clumps. These data indicate that in almost all laminopathies the expression of the mutant lamin A precursor disrupts the organization of heterochromatin domains so that affected cells are unable to maintain the silenced chromatin state capable to allow/preserve terminal differentiation. Our results further show that the absence of emerin expression alters the distribution of pre-lamin A and of heterochromatin areas, suggesting a major involvement of emerin in pre-lamin A-mediated mechanisms of chromatin remodeling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean journal of histochemistry : EJH
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


  • Cell differentiation
  • Emerin
  • Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy
  • Heterochromatin
  • Laminopathy
  • Nuclear envelope
  • Pre-lamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Anatomy
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology


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