The LINC-less granulocyte nucleus

Eur J Cell Biol. 2009 Apr;88(4):203-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2008.10.001. Epub 2008 Nov 18.


The major blood granulocyte (neutrophil) is rapidly recruited to sites of bacterial and fungal infections. It is a highly malleable cell, allowing it to squeeze out of blood vessels and migrate through tight tissue spaces. The human granulocyte nucleus is lobulated and exhibits a paucity of nuclear lamins, increasing its capability for deformation. The present study examined the existence of protein connections between the nuclear envelope and cytoskeletal elements (the LINC complex) in differentiated cell states (i.e. granulocytic, monocytic and macrophage) of the human leukemic cell line HL-60, as well as in human blood leukocytes. HL-60 granulocytes exhibited a deficiency of several LINC complex proteins (i.e. nesprin 1 giant, nesprin 2 giant, SUN1, plectin and vimentin); whereas, the macrophage state revealed nesprin 1 giant, plectin and vimentin. Both states possessed SUN2 in the nuclear envelope. Parallel differences were observed with some of the LINC complex proteins in isolated human blood leukocytes, including macrophage cells derived from blood monocytes. The present study documenting the paucity of LINC complex proteins in granulocytic forms, in combination with previous data on granulocyte nuclear shape and nuclear envelope composition, suggest the hypothesis that these adaptations evolved to facilitate granulocyte cellular malleability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cholecalciferol / pharmacology
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Neutrophils / ultrastructure*
  • Nuclear Envelope / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phorbol Esters / pharmacology
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology
  • Vitamins / pharmacology


  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phorbol Esters
  • Vitamins
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Tretinoin