TAN lines: a novel nuclear envelope structure involved in nuclear positioning

Nucleus. 2011 May-Jun;2(3):173-81. doi: 10.4161/nucl.2.3.16243.


Nuclear position is actively controlled and can be adjusted according to the needs of a cell by nuclear movement. Microtubules mediate the majority of nuclear movements studied to date, although examples of nuclear movements mediated by the actin cytoskeleton have been described. One such actin-dependent nuclear movement occurs during centrosome orientation in fibroblasts polarizing for migration. Here, the centrosome is maintained at the cell center while the nucleus is moved to the cell rear by actin retrograde flow thus positioning the centrosome between the nucleus and the leading edge of the cell. We have explored the molecular mechanism for actin dependent movement of the nucleus during centrosome centration. We found that a novel linear array of nuclear envelope membrane proteins composed of nesprin-2G and SUN2, called transmembrane actin-associated nuclear (TAN) lines, couple the nucleus to moving actin cables resulting in the nucleus being positioned toward the cell rear. TAN lines are anchored by A-type lamins and this allows the forces generated by the actin cytoskeleton to be transmitted across the nuclear envelope to move the nucleus. Here we review the data supporting this mechanism for nuclear movement, discuss questions remaining to be addressed and consider how this new mechanism of nuclear movement may shed light on human disease.

Keywords: LINC complex; SUN; TAN lines; actin; centrosome; lamina; migration; nesprin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Nuclear Envelope / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Lamina / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • SUN2 protein, human