A novel family of plant nuclear envelope-associated proteins

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This paper describes the characterisation of a new family of higher plant nuclear envelope-associated proteins (NEAPs) that interact with other proteins of the nuclear envelope. In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the family consists of three genes expressed ubiquitously (AtNEAP1–3) and a pseudogene (AtNEAP4). NEAPs consist of extensive coiled-coil domains, followed by a nuclear localisation signal and a C-terminal predicted transmembrane domain. Domain deletion mutants confirm the presence of a functional nuclear localisation signal and transmembrane domain. AtNEAP proteins localise to the nuclear periphery as part of stable protein complexes, are able to form homo- and heteromers, and interact with the SUN domain proteins AtSUN1 and AtSUN2, involved in the linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complex. An A. thaliana cDNA library screen identified a putative transcription factor called AtbZIP18 as a novel interactor of AtNEAP1, which suggest a connection between NEAP and chromatin. An Atneap1 Atneap3 double-knockout mutant showed reduced root growth, and altered nuclear morphology and chromatin structure. Thus AtNEAPs are suggested as inner nuclear membrane-anchored coiled-coil proteins with roles in maintaining nuclear morphology and chromatin structure.

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