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Background. Nuclear size is a tightly regulated cellular feature. Mechanisms that regulate nuclear size and the functional significance of this regulation are largely unknown. Nuclear size and morphology are often altered in many diseases, such as cancer. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms that regulate nuclear size is crucial to provide insight into the role of nuclear size in disease.
Scope and Approach. The goal of this review is to summarize the most recent studies about the mechanisms and functional significance of nuclear size control using the Xenopus model system. First, this review describes how Xenopus egg extracts, embryos, and embryo extracts are prepared and used in scientific research. Next, the review focuses on the mechanisms and functional effects of proper nuclear size control that have been learned using the Xenopus system.
Key Findings and Conclusions. Xenopus is an excellent in vivo and in vitro experimental platform to study mechanisms of nuclear size control. Given its close evolutionary relationship with mammals and that most cellular processes and pathways are highly conserved between Xenopus and humans, the Xenopus system has been a valuable tool to advance biomedical research. Some of the mechanisms that regulate nuclear size include components of nuclear import such as importin α and NTF2, nuclear lamins, nucleoporins, proteins that regulate the morphology of the endoplasmic reticulum, and cytoskeletal elements.
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