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LITTLE NUCLEI genes affecting nuclear morphology in Arabidopsis thaliana.

The Plant cell (2007-09-18)
Travis A Dittmer, Nicola J Stacey, Keiko Sugimoto-Shirasu, Eric J Richards

Efforts to understand nuclear organization in plant cells have received little assistance from the better-studied animal nuclei, because plant proteomes do not contain recognizable counterparts to the key animal proteins involved in nuclear organization, such as lamin nuclear intermediate filament proteins. Previous studies identified a plant-specific insoluble nuclear protein in carrot (Daucus carota), called Nuclear Matrix Constituent Protein1 (NMCP1), which contains extensive coiled-coil domains and localizes to the nuclear periphery. Here, we describe a genetic characterization of two NMCP1-related nuclear proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana, LITTLE NUCLEI1 (LINC1) and LINC2. Disruption of either gene caused a reduction in nuclear size and altered nuclear morphology. Moreover, combining linc1 and linc2 mutations had an additive effect on nuclear size and morphology but a synergistic effect on chromocenter number (reduction) and whole-plant morphology (dwarfing). The reduction in nuclear size in the linc1 linc2 double mutant was not accompanied by a corresponding change in endopolyploidy. Rather, the density of DNA packaging at all endopolyploid levels in the linc1 linc2 mutants was increased significantly. Our results indicate that the LINC coiled-coil proteins are important determinants of plant nuclear structure.

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