Solubility properties and specific assembly pathways of the B-type lamin from Caenorhabditis elegans

J Struct Biol. 2006 Aug;155(2):340-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2006.03.026. Epub 2006 Apr 27.


Lamins are nucleus-specific intermediate filament (IF) proteins that together with a complex set of membrane proteins form a filamentous meshwork tightly adhering to the inner nuclear membrane and being associated with the nuclear pore complexes. This so-called nuclear lamina provides mechanical stability and, in addition, has been implicated in the spatial organization of the heterochromatin. While increasing knowledge on the biological function of lamins has been obtained in recent years, the assembly mechanism of lamin filaments at the molecular level has remained largely elusive. Therefore, we have now more systematically investigated lamin assembly in vitro. Using Caenorhabditis elegans lamin, which has been reported to assemble into 10-nm filaments under low ionic strength conditions, we investigated the assembly kinetics of this protein into filaments in more detail using both His-tagged and un-tagged recombinant proteins. In particular, we have characterized distinct intermediates in the filament assembly process by analytical ultracentrifugation, electron and atomic force microscopy. In contrast to the general view that lamins assemble only slowly into filaments, we show that in vitro association reactions are extremely fast, and depending on the ionic conditions employed, significant filamentous assemblies form within seconds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / chemistry*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Dimerization
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / chemistry
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Lamins / chemistry*
  • Lamins / metabolism
  • Lamins / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force / methods
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission / methods
  • Solubility


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Lamins