Development

Misguided and Misunderstood

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Science  31 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5535, pp. 1559
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5535.1559d

Eggs have an internal polarity that is important in defining the polarity of the developing embryo. The establishment of polarity is a key factor in controlling normal development. Now Guillemin et al. have discovered an unanticipated role for the nuclear lamins in defining polarity. The nuclear lamin proteins are related to intermediate filaments and line the nuclear envelope. In mutant Drosophila lacking functional versions of one of the main nuclear lamins, the dorsal-ventral polarity of oocytes was disrupted. In addition, directed outgrowth of cytoplasmic extensions from terminal cells of the trachea was disrupted—which was how the original mutant, misguided, was identified. How disruption of the nuclear envelope and the associated DNA translates into cytoplasmic defects is unclear. However, this role of the lamins in cytoplasmic, as well as nuclear, organization may well help in understanding the pathology of human diseases caused by mutations in the nuclear lamins. — SMH

Nature Cell Biol.3, 848 (2001).

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