Shaping the nucleus: Factors and forces



Take a look at a textbook illustration of a cell and you will immediately be able to locate the nucleus, which is often drawn as a spherical or ovoid shaped structure. But not all cells have such nuclei. In fact, some disease states are diagnosed by the presence of nuclei that have an abnormal shape or size. What defines nuclear shape and nuclear size, and how does nuclear geometry affect nuclear function? While the answer to the latter question remains largely unknown, significant progress has been made towards understanding the former. In this review, we provide an overview of the factors and forces that affect nuclear shape and size, discuss the relationship between ER structure and nuclear morphology, and speculate on the possible connection between nuclear size and its shape. We also note the many interesting questions that remain to be explored. J. Cell. Biochem. 113: 2813–2821, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.