PerspectiveCell Biology

When cells push the envelope

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Science  15 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6283, pp. 295-296
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7735

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By enclosing chromosomes within a nuclear envelope (NE), eukaryotic cells are able to segregate transcription and translation, key activities involved in gene expression (1). The implication is that maintenance of the NE as a selective barrier represents an essential aspect of normal cellular physiology. However, it also presents the cell with the predicament of how to accommodate a membrane-limited organelle that might occupy a substantial portion of the cell volume. On pages 353 and 359 of this issue, Denais et al. (2) and Raab et al. (3), respectively, report that the physical size and mechanical properties of the nucleus may have dramatic effects on the behavior of motile cells.