The roles of inner nuclear membrane proteins during interphase and mitosis

Abstract: The nuclear envelope (NE) consists of two concentric membranes, the outer nuclear membrane (ONM) and the inner nuclear membrane (INM). The LINC (linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton) complex spans both the ONM and the INM connecting the cytoskeleton to the nucleoskeleton and chromatin. Only a few of the known INM proteins have been functionally characterized and shown to have important roles in chromatin organisation. Defects in the genes coding for proteins in the INM and the nuclear lamina give rise to serious human diseases, called envelopathies.In 2009 (Buch et al. 2009) our group made two major discoveries. We showed for the first time, that an integral INM protein distributed along the microtubules of the mitotic spindle. This protein was therefore named Samp1, Spindle Associated Membrane Protein 1. The second discovery was that depletion of Samp1 caused detachment of the centrosome from the NE, suggesting that Samp1 is associated with the microtubule cytoskeleton both in interphase and mitosis.In this thesis we continued to investigate Samp1´s role during interphase. We also wanted to investigate the localisation of Samp1 in the mitotic spindle and possible function during mitosis. We show that the expression of Samp1 mutants and depletion of Samp1 affects the distribution and organisation of A-type lamins, the LINC complex protein Sun1 and the LINC complex associated protein emerin. Thus, in interphase Samp1 is functionally connected to the LINC complex and the A-type lamina network. The LINC complex can help explain how the centrosomes detach from the NE in Samp1 depleted cells. In mitotic cells, we found that depletion of Samp1 caused prolonged metaphase and aberrant mitotic phenotypes such as bi-nucleation, enlarged nuclei and micronuclei. We also showed that Samp1 interacts with RanGTPase and importin-β, which are key players in assembling the mitotic spindle. Samp1 also modulates the levels of importin-β and NuMA in the mitotic spindle, which could explain the mitotic phenotypes that we se in Samp1 depleted cells. Here we present evidence showing, for the first time, that an INM protein is present on kinetochore microtubules and have an essential role for correct chromosome segregation and spindle assembly.

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