The dynamic nature of the nuclear envelope: Lessons from closed mitosis

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In eukaryotes, chromosomes are encased by a dynamic nuclear envelope. In contrast to metazoans, where the nuclear envelope disassembles during mitosis, many fungi including budding yeast undergo “closed mitosis,” where the nuclear envelope remains intact throughout the cell cycle. Consequently, during closed mitosis the nuclear envelope must expand to accommodate chromosome segregation to the two daughter cells. A recent study by Witkin et al. in budding yeast showed that if progression through mitosis is delayed, for example due to checkpoint activation, the nuclear envelope continues to expand despite the block to chromosome segregation. Moreover, this expansion occurs at a specific region of the nuclear envelope adjacent to the nucleolus- forming an extension referred to as a “flare.” These observations raise questions regarding the regulation of nuclear envelope expansion both in budding yeast and in higher eukaryotes, the mechanisms confining mitotic nuclear envelope expansion to a particular region and the possible consequences of failing to regulate nuclear envelope expansion during the cell cycle.

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