LINC complexes in health and disease

Nucleus. Jan-Feb 2010;1(1):40-52. doi: 10.4161/nucl.1.1.10530.


The cell nucleus communicates with the rest of the cell via nucleo/cytoplasmic transport of proteins and RNA through the nuclear pores. Direct mechanical links between the nucleus and the cytoplasm have recently emerged in the form of LINC (Linkers of the nucleoskeleton to the cytoskeleton) protein complexes. A LINC complex consists of four components. At its core are an inner nuclear membrane (INM) transmembrane protein and an outer nuclear membrane (ONM) transmembrane protein which physically interact with each other in the lumen of the NE. The INM LINC component interacts on the nucleoplasmic side with either the lamina or with an INM-associated protein. The ONM LINC component on the other hand contacts on the cytoplasmatic side a component of the cytoskeleton. This review highlights the components of LINC complexes and their emerging roles in mechanotransduction, nuclear migration, chromosome positioning, signaling, meiosis, cytoskeletal organization and human disease.

Keywords: EDMD; LINC; LMNA; SUN; lamins A/C; nesprins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lamins / genetics
  • Lamins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss / metabolism
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss / pathology
  • Nuclear Envelope / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*


  • Lamins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins