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Open Access Research article

Altered protein dynamics of disease-associated lamin A mutants

Susan Gilchrist1, Nick Gilbert1, Paul Perry1, Cecilia Östlund2, Howard J Worman2 and Wendy A Bickmore1*

Author Affiliations

1 MRC Human Genetics Unit, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK

2 Departments of Medicine and of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Physicians, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA

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BMC Cell Biology 2004, 5:46  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-5-46

Published: 13 December 2004



Recent interest in the function of the nuclear lamina has been provoked by the discovery of lamin A/C mutations in the laminopathy diseases. However, it is not understood why mutations in lamin A give such a range of tissue-specific phenotypes. Part of the problem in rationalising genotype-phenotype correlations in the laminopathies is our lack of understanding of the function of normal and mutant lamin A. To investigate this we have used photobleaching in human cells to analyse the dynamics of wild-type and mutant lamin A protein at the nuclear periphery.


We have found that a large proportion of wild-type lamin A at the nuclear periphery is immobile, but that there is some slow movement of lamin A within the nuclear lamina. The mobility of an R482W mutant lamin A was indistinguishable from wild-type, but increased mobility of L85R and L530P mutant proteins within the nuclear lamina was found. However, the N195K mutant shows the most enhanced protein mobility, both within the nucleoplasm and within the lamina.


The slow kinetics of lamin A movement is compatible with its incorporation into a stable polymer that only exchanges subunits very slowly. All of the myopathy-associated lamin A mutants that we have studied show increased protein movement compared with wild-type. In contrast, the dynamic behaviour of the lipodystrophy-associated lamin A mutant was indistinguishable from wild-type. This supports the hypothesis that the underlying defect in lamin A function is quite distinct in the laminopathies that affect striated muscle, compared to the diseases that affect adipose tissue. Our data are consistent with an alteration in the stability of the lamin A molecules within the higher-order polymer at the nuclear lamina in myopathies.