The role of emerin in cancer progression and metastasis

Alexandra G. Liddane, James M. Holaska

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


It is commonly recognized in the field that cancer cells exhibit changes in the size and shape of their nuclei. These features often serve as important biomarkers in the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer patients. Nuclear size can significantly impact cell migration due to its incredibly large size. Nuclear structural changes are predicted to regulate cancer cell migration. Nuclear abnormalities are common across a vast spectrum of cancer types, regardless of tissue source, mutational spectrum, and signaling dependencies. The pervasiveness of nuclear alterations suggests that changes in nuclear structure may be crucially linked to the transformation process. The factors driv-ing these nuclear abnormalities, and the functional consequences, are not completely understood. Nuclear envelope proteins play an important role in regulating nuclear size and structure in cancer. Altered expression of nuclear lamina proteins, including emerin, is found in many cancers and this expression is correlated with better clinical outcomes. A model is emerging whereby emerin, as well as other nuclear lamina proteins, binding to the nucleoskeleton regulates the nuclear structure to impact metastasis. In this model, emerin and lamins play a central role in metastatic transformation, since decreased emerin expression during transformation causes the nuclear structural defects required for increased cell migration, intravasation, and extravasation. Herein, we discuss the cellular functions of nuclear lamina proteins, with a particular focus on emerin, and how these functions impact cancer progression and metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11289
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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