• Allium cepa;
  • lamin-like protein;
  • lamina;
  • nuclear intermediate filament;
  • nucleoskeleton;
  • spectrin


Plant cells have a well organized nucleus and nuclear matrix, but lack orthologues of the main structural components of the metazoan nuclear matrix. Although data is limited, most plant nuclear structural proteins are coiled-coil proteins, such as the NIFs (nuclear intermediate filaments) in Pisum sativum that cross-react with anti-intermediate filament and anti-lamin antibodies, form filaments 6–12 nm in diameter in vitro, and may play the role of lamins. We have investigated the conservation and features of NIFs in a monocot species, Allium cepa, and compared them with onion lamin-like proteins. Polyclonal antisera against the pea 65 kDa NIF were used in 1D and 2D Western blots, ICM (imunofluorescence confocal microscopy) and IEM (immunoelectron microscopy). Their presence in the nuclear matrix was analysed by differential extraction of nuclei, and their association with structural spectrin-like proteins by co-immunoprecipitation and co-localization in ICM. NIF is a conserved structural component of the nucleus and its matrix in monocots with Mr and pI values similar to those of pea 65 kDa NIF, which localized to the nuclear envelope, perichromatin domains and foci, and to the nuclear matrix, interacting directly with structural nuclear spectrin-like proteins. Its similarities with some of the proteins described as onion lamin-like proteins suggest that they are highly related or perhaps the same proteins.