Nuclear Envelope Integrity in Health and Disease: Consequences on Genome Instability and Inflammation

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jul 6;22(14):7281. doi: 10.3390/ijms22147281.


The dynamic nature of the nuclear envelope (NE) is often underestimated. The NE protects, regulates, and organizes the eukaryote genome and adapts to epigenetic changes and to its environment. The NE morphology is characterized by a wide range of diversity and abnormality such as invagination and blebbing, and it is a diagnostic factor for pathologies such as cancer. Recently, the micronuclei, a small nucleus that contains a full chromosome or a fragment thereof, has gained much attention. The NE of micronuclei is prone to collapse, leading to DNA release into the cytoplasm with consequences ranging from the activation of the cGAS/STING pathway, an innate immune response, to the creation of chromosomal instability. The discovery of those mechanisms has revolutionized the understanding of some inflammation-related diseases and the origin of complex chromosomal rearrangements, as observed during the initiation of tumorigenesis. Herein, we will highlight the complexity of the NE biology and discuss the clinical symptoms observed in NE-related diseases. The interplay between innate immunity, genomic instability, and nuclear envelope leakage could be a major focus in future years to explain a wide range of diseases and could lead to new classes of therapeutics.

Keywords: cGAS/STING; cancer; chromosomal instability; envelopathy; inflammation; lipodystrophy; neuropathy; nuclear envelope; nuclear envelope disruption.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Chromosomal Instability / genetics
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Damage / genetics
  • Genomic Instability / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Inflammation / genetics*
  • Nuclear Envelope / genetics*


  • DNA