The nuclear envelope (also known as the perinuclear envelope, nuclear membrane, nucleolemma or karyotheca) is the double membrane of the nucleus that encloses genetic material in eukaryotic cells. It separates the contents of the nucleus (DNA in particular) from the cytosol (cytoplasm).
Numerous nuclear pores are present on the nuclear envelope to facilitate and regulate the exchange of materials (for example, proteins and RNA) between the nucleus and the cytoplasm.
The space between the two membranes that make up the nuclear envelope is called the perinuclear space (also called the perinuclear cisterna), and is usually about 20 - 40 nm wide. Each of the two membranes is composed of a lipid bilayer. The outer membrane is continuous with the rough endoplasmic reticulum.
The inner membrane is erected upon the nuclear lamina, a network of intermediate filaments made of lamin, that plays a role in mitosis and meiosis. The type of lamins present are A, B1, B2, and C.
The nuclear envelope may also play a role in the disposition of chromatin inside the nucleus. The lamina acts as a site of attachment for chromosomes. It also acts like a shield for the nucleus.
Disintegration during mitosis in metazoans
During prophase in mitosis, the chromatids begin condensing to form chromosomes, and the nuclear envelope begins to disintegrate. During metaphase, the nuclear envelope is completely disintegrated, and the chromosomes can be pulled apart as chromatids by the spindle fibers. Other eukaryotes such as yeast undergo closed mitosis, where the chromosomes segregate within the nuclear envelope, which then buds as the two daughter cells divide.
- Histology image: 20102loa – Histology Learning System at Boston University
- Animations of nuclear pores and transport through the nuclear envelope
- Illustrations of nuclear pores and transport through the nuclear envelope
- Nuclear+envelope at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
Template:Structures of the cell membrane
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