In an attempt to identify structural components of the yeast nucleus, subcellular fractions of yeast nuclei were prepared and used as immunogens to generate complex polyclonal antibodies. One such serum was used to screen a yeast genomic lambda gt11 expression library. A clone encoding a gene called NUF1 (for nuclear filament-related) was identified and extensively characterized. Antibodies to NUF1 fusion proteins were generated, and affinity-purified antibodies were used for immunoblot analysis and indirect immunofluorescence localization. The NUF1 protein is 110 kD in molecular mass and localizes to the yeast nucleus in small granular patches. Intranuclear staining is present in cells at all stages of the cell cycle. The NUF1 protein of yeast is tightly associated with the nucleus; it was not removed by extraction of nuclei with nonionic detergent or salt, or treatment with RNAse and DNAse. Sequence analysis of the NUF1 gene predicts a protein 945 amino acids in length that contains three domains: a large 627 residue central domain predicted to form a coiled-coil structure flanked by nonhelical amino-terminal and carboxy-terminal regions. Disruption of the NUF1 gene indicates that it is necessary for yeast cell growth. These results indicate that NUF1 encodes an essential coiled-coil protein within the yeast nucleus; we speculate that NUF1 is a component of the yeast nucleoskeleton. In addition, immunofluorescence results indicate that mammalian cells contain a NUF1-related nuclear protein. These data in conjunction with those in the accompanying manuscript (Yang et al., 1992) lead to the hypothesis that an internal coiled-coil filamentous system may be a general structural component of the eukaryotic nucleus.

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