Pushing the envelope: structure, function, and dynamics of the nuclear periphery

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2005;21:347-80. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.21.090704.151152.


The nuclear envelope (NE) is a highly specialized membrane that delineates the eukaryotic cell nucleus. It is composed of the inner and outer nuclear membranes, nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) and, in metazoa, the lamina. The NE not only regulates the trafficking of macromolecules between nucleoplasm and cytosol but also provides anchoring sites for chromatin and the cytoskeleton. Through these interactions, the NE helps position the nucleus within the cell and chromosomes within the nucleus, thereby regulating the expression of certain genes. The NE is not static, rather it is continuously remodeled during cell division. The most dramatic example of NE reorganization occurs during mitosis in metazoa when the NE undergoes a complete cycle of disassembly and reformation. Despite the importance of the NE for eukaryotic cell life, relatively little is known about its biogenesis or many of its functions. We thus are far from understanding the molecular etiology of a diverse group of NE-associated diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Nuclear Envelope / chemistry
  • Nuclear Envelope / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Envelope / physiology


  • Chromatin