Distinct regions specify the nuclear membrane targeting of emerin, the responsible protein for Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy

Eur J Biochem. 1999 Feb;259(3):859-65. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-1327.1999.00112.x.


Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder that has three characteristics: (a) early contracture of the elbows, Achilles tendons and postcervical muscles; (b) slowly progressive wasting and weakness of skeletal muscle; and (c) cardiomyopathy with severe conduction block. The responsible gene for the X-linked recessive form of this disease encodes an inner nuclear membrane protein named emerin. Although emerin is absent in tissues from patients with this disorder, it remains obscure why the loss of this widely expressed protein affects selectively skeletal muscle, heart and joints. As the first step to address this question, we examined the molecular regions of emerin that are essential for nuclear membrane targeting and stability of the protein. We found that the C-terminal hydrophobic region was necessary, but not sufficient, for nuclear membrane anchoring and stability of the protein. In the absence of this transmembrane domain, the upstream nucleoplasmic domain showed no firm association with the nuclear rim, but showed the tendency to accumulate at the nucleolus-like structures. Furthermore, proper targeting of emerin to the nuclear membrane required the latter half of the nucleoplasmic domain. These characteristics are distinct from those of lamina-associated polypeptide 2. Our findings indicate that emerin has distinct interactions with the inner nuclear membrane components that may be required for the stability and function of rigorously moving nuclei in tissues such as skeletal muscle, heart and joints.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Muscular Dystrophies / genetics*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Nuclear Envelope / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Thymopoietins / genetics*
  • Thymopoietins / metabolism


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Thymopoietins
  • emerin
  • lamina-associated polypeptide 2
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins