The nuclear lamins are members of the intermediate filament (IF) family of proteins. The lamins have an essential role in maintaining nuclear integrity, as do the other IF family members in the cytoplasm. Also like cytoplasmic IFs, the organization of lamins is dynamic. The lamins are found not only at the nuclear periphery but also in the interior of the nucleus, as distinct nucleoplasmic foci and possibly as a network throughout the nucleus. Nuclear processes such as DNA replication may be organized around these structures. In this review, we discuss changes in the structure and organization of the nuclear lamins during the cell cycle and during cell differentiation. These changes are correlated with changes in nuclear structure and function. For example, the interactions of lamins with chromatin and nuclear envelope components occur very early during nuclear assembly following mitosis. During S-phase, the lamins colocalize with markers of DNA replication, and proper lamin organization must be maintained for replication to proceed. When cells differentiate, the expression pattern of lamin isotypes changes. In addition, changes in lamin organization and expression patterns accompany the nuclear alterations observed in transformed cells. These lamin structures may modulate nuclear function in each of these processes.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.