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Structure of interphase cell nuclei remains dynamic and can undergo various changes of shape and organisation, in health and disease. The double-membraned envelope that separates nuclear genetic material from the rest of the cell frequently includes deep, branching tubular invaginations that form a dynamic nucleoplasmic reticulum (NR). This study addresses mechanisms by which NR can form in interphase nuclei. We present a combination of Nanoscale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (NanoSIMS) approach and light microscopy techniques to follow formation of NR by using pulse-chase experiments to examine protein and lipid delivery to nascent NR in cultured cells. Lamina protein incorporation was assessed using precursor accumulation (for lamin A) or a MAPLE3 photoconvertible tag (for lamin B1) and membrane phospholipid incorporation using stable isotope labelling with deuterated precursors followed by high resolution NanoSIMS. In all three cases, nascent molecules were selectively incorporated into newly forming NR tubules; thus strongly suggesting that NR formation is a regulated process involving a focal assembly machine, rather than simple physical perturbation of a pre-existing nuclear envelope.

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