The GTPase Ran regulates chromosome positioning and nuclear envelope assembly in vivo

Curr Biol. 2002 Mar 19;12(6):503-7. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(02)00741-8.


The GTPase Ran is known to regulate transport of proteins across the nuclear envelope. Recently, Ran has been shown to promote microtubule polymerization and spindle assembly around chromatin in Xenopus mitotic extracts and to stimulate nuclear envelope assembly in Xenopus or HeLa cell extracts. However, these in vitro findings have not been tested in living cells and do not necessarily describe the generalized model of Ran functions. Here we present several lines of evidence that Ran is indispensable for correct chromosome positioning and nuclear envelope assembly in C. elegans. Embryos deprived of Ran by RNAi showed metaphase chromosome misalignment and aberrant chromosome segregation, while astral microtubules seemed unaffected. Depletion of RCC1 or RanGAP by RNAi resulted in essentially the same defects. The immunofluorescent staining showed that Ran localizes to kinetochore regions of metaphase and anaphase chromosomes, suggesting the role of Ran in linking chromosomes to kinetochore microtubules. Ran was shown to localize to the nuclear envelope at telophase and during interphase in early embryos, and the depletion of Ran resulted in failure of nuclear envelope assembly. Thus, Ran is crucially involved in chromosome positioning and nuclear envelope assembly in C. elegans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle Proteins*
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Chromosomes / metabolism*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / genetics
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • ran GTP-Binding Protein / genetics
  • ran GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RanGAP protein, C elegans
  • ran-3 protein, C elegans
  • RAN-1 protein, C elegans
  • ran GTP-Binding Protein