Indexed on: 15 May '08Published on: 15 May '08Published in: Journal of cell science
Giant isoforms, encoded by Nesprin-1 (Syne1) and Nesprin-2 (Syne2), are multifunctional actin-binding and nuclear-envelope-associated proteins belonging to the spectrin superfamily. Here, we investigate the function of Nesprin-2 Giant (NUANCE) in skin by generating mice lacking the actin-binding domain of Nesprin-2 (Nesprin-2DeltaABD). This loss results in a slight but significant thickening of the epidermis, which is a consequence of the increased epithelial nuclear size. Nonetheless, epidermal proliferation and differentiation appear normal in the knockout epidermis. Surprisingly, Nesprin-2 C-terminal-isoform expression and nuclear envelope localization were affected in certain tissues. Nuclei of primary dermal knockout fibroblasts and keratinocytes were heavily misshapen, displaying a striking similarity to nuclear deformations characteristic of laminopathies. Furthermore, emerin, the protein involved in the X-linked form of Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD), was unevenly distributed along the nuclear envelope in mutant fibroblasts, often forming aggregates in the deformed nuclear envelope areas. Thus, Nesprin-2 is an important scaffold protein implicated in the maintenance of nuclear envelope architecture. Aged knockout fibroblasts readily generated, by alternative splicing and alternative translation initiation, aberrant Nesprin-2 Giant isoforms that lacked an ABD but that were sufficient to restore nuclear shape and emerin localization; this suggests that other regions of Nesprin-2 Giant, potentially including its spectrin repeats, are crucial for these functions.