Prelamin A is the precursor protein of lamin A, a major constituent of the nuclear lamina in higher eukaryotes. Increasing attention to prelamin A processing and function has been given after the discovery, from 2002 to 2004, of diseases caused by prelamin A accumulation. These diseases, belonging to the group of laminopathies and mostly featuring LMNA mutations, are characterized, at the clinical level, by different degrees of accelerated aging, and adipose tissue, skin and bone abnormalities. The outcome of studies conducted in the last few years consists of three major findings. First, prelamin A is processed at different rates under physiological conditions depending on the differentiation state of the cell. This means that, for instance, in muscle cells, prelamin A itself plays a biological role, besides production of mature lamin A. Secondly, prelamin A post-translational modifications give rise to different processing intermediates, which elicit different effects in the nucleus, mostly by modification of the chromatin arrangement. Thirdly, there is a threshold of toxicity, especially of the farnesylated form of prelamin A, whose accumulation is obviously linked to cell and organism senescence. The present review is focused on prelamin A-mediated nuclear envelope modifications that are upstream of chromatin dynamics and gene expression mechanisms regulated by the lamin A precursor.
- Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD)
- Prelamin A
- Progeroid laminopathy
ASJC Scopus subject areas