A Cell-Free Assay Using Xenopus laevis Embryo Extracts to Study Mechanisms of Nuclear Size Regulation

Journal of Visualized Experiments : JoVE
Lisa J Edens, Daniel L Levy


A fundamental question in cell biology is how cell and organelle sizes are regulated. It has long been recognized that the size of the nucleus generally scales with the size of the cell, notably during embryogenesis when dramatic reductions in both cell and nuclear sizes occur. Mechanisms of nuclear size regulation are largely unknown and may be relevant to cancer where altered nuclear size is a key diagnostic and prognostic parameter. In vivo approaches to identifying nuclear size regulators are complicated by the essential and complex nature of nuclear function. The in vitro approach described here to study nuclear size control takes advantage of the normal reductions in nuclear size that occur during Xenopus laevis development. First, nuclei are assembled in X. laevis egg extract. Then, these nuclei are isolated and resuspended in cytoplasm from late stage embryos. After a 30 - 90 min incubation period, nuclear surface area decreases by 20 - 60%, providing a useful assay to identify cytoplasmic components present in late stage embryos that contribute to developmental nuclear size scaling. A major advantage of this approach is the relative facility with which the egg and embryo extracts can be biochemically manipulated, allow...Continue Reading


Jan 13, 2018·Cold Spring Harbor Protocols·Pan Chen, Daniel L Levy
Oct 23, 2019·The Journal of Cell Biology·Pan ChenDaniel L Levy

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