Publication of IMPRS-LS student Katharina Thanisch

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Thanisch, K., Song, C., Engelkamp, D., Koch, J., Wang, A., Hallberg, E., Foisner, R., Leonhardt, H., Stewart, C.L., Joffe, B., and Solovei, I.
Differentiation, 2017, 94, 58-70.

Nuclear envelope localization of LEMD2 is developmentally dynamic and lamin A/C dependent yet insufficient for heterochromatin tethering.

Peripheral heterochromatin in mammalian nuclei is tethered to the nuclear envelope by at least two mechanisms here referred to as the A- and B-tethers. The A-tether includes lamins A/C and additional unknown components presumably INM protein(s) interacting with both lamins A/C and chromatin. The B-tether includes the inner nuclear membrane (INM) protein Lamin B-receptor, which binds B-type lamins and chromatin. Generally, at least one of the tethers is always present in the nuclear envelope of mammalian cells. Deletion of both causes the loss of peripheral heterochromatin and consequently inversion of the entire nuclear architecture, with this occurring naturally in rod photoreceptors of nocturnal mammals. The tethers are differentially utilized during development, regulate gene expression in opposite manners, and play an important role during cell differentiation. Here we aimed to identify the unknown chromatin binding component(s) of the A-tether. We analyzed 10 mouse tissues by immunostaining with antibodies against 7 INM proteins and found that every cell type has specific, although differentially and developmentally regulated, sets of these proteins. In particular, we found that INM protein LEMD2 is concomitantly expressed with A-type lamins in various cell types but is lacking in inverted nuclei of rod cells. Truncation or deletion of Lmna resulted in the downregulation and mislocalization of LEMD2, suggesting that the two proteins interact and pointing at LEMD2 as a potential chromatin binding mediator of the A-tether. Using nuclei of mouse rods as an experimental model lacking peripheral heterochromatin, we expressed a LEMD2 transgene alone or in combination with lamin C in these cells and observed no restoration of peripheral heterochromatin in either case. We conclude that in contrary to the B-tether, the A-tether has a more intricate composition and consists of multiple components that presumably vary, at differing degrees of redundancy, between cell types and differentiation stages.