Scaling behaviour and control of nuclear wrinkling

Nat Phys. 2023 Dec;19(12):1927-1935. Epub 2023 Sep 18.


The cell nucleus is enveloped by a complex membrane, whose wrinkling has been implicated in disease and cellular aging. The biophysical dynamics and spectral evolution of nuclear wrinkling during multicellular development remain poorly understood due to a lack of direct quantitative measurements. Here, we characterize the onset and dynamics of nuclear wrinkling during egg development in the fruit fly when nurse cell nuclei increase in size and display stereotypical wrinkling behavior. A spectral analysis of three-dimensional high-resolution live imaging data from several hundred nuclei reveals a robust asymptotic power-law scaling of angular fluctuations consistent with renormalization and scaling predictions from a nonlinear elastic shell model. We further demonstrate that nuclear wrinkling can be reversed through osmotic shock and suppressed by microtubule disruption, providing tuneable physical and biological control parameters for probing mechanical properties of the nuclear envelope. Our findings advance the biophysical understanding of nuclear membrane fluctuations during early multicellular development.