Local, transient tensile stress on the nuclear membrane causes membrane rupture.

Research paper by Qiao Q Zhang, Andrew C AC Tamashunas, Ashutosh A Agrawal, Mehdi M Torbati, Aditya A Katiyar, Richard B RB Dickinson, Jan J Lammerding, Tanmay P TP Lele

Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Molecular biology of the cell


Cancer cell migration through narrow constrictions generates compressive stresses on the nucleus that deform it and cause rupture of nuclear membranes. Nuclear membrane rupture allows uncontrolled exchange between nuclear and cytoplasmic contents. Local tensile stresses can also cause nuclear deformations, but whether such deformations are accompanied by nuclear membrane rupture is unknown. Here we used a direct force probe to locally deform the nucleus by applying a transient tensile stress to the nuclear membrane. We found that a transient (∼0.2 s) deformation (∼1% projected area strain) in normal mammary epithelial cells (MCF-10A cells) was sufficient to cause rupture of the nuclear membrane. Nuclear membrane rupture scaled with the magnitude of nuclear deformation and the magnitude of applied tensile stress. Comparison of diffusive fluxes of nuclear probes between wild type and lamin-depleted MCF-10A cells revealed that lamin A/C, but not lamin B2, protects the nuclear membranes against rupture from tensile stress. Our results suggest that transient nuclear deformations typically caused by local tensile stresses are sufficient to cause nuclear membrane rupture. Movie S1 Movie S1 Time-lapse movie shows the short duration of the 10 kPa stress pulse applied to an MCF-10A nucleus expressing EGFP-NLS (corresponding to Figure 1A).