Karyoskeletal protein fractions prepared from Drosophila melanogaster embryos contain morphologically identifiable remnants of nuclear pore complexes and peripheral lamina as well as what appears to be an internal nuclear "matrix" (Fisher, P. A., M. Berrios, and G. Blobel, 1982, J. Cell Biol., 92: 674-686). Structural stability of these proteinaceous assemblies is dependent on thermal incubation in vitro (37 degrees C, 15 min) before subfractionation of nuclei. In the absence of such incubation, greater than 90% of the total karyoskeletal protein including major polypeptide components of internal "matrix," pore complexes, and the peripheral lamina, is solubilized by 1 M NaCl. In vivo heat shock induces karyoskeletal stabilization resembling that resulting from thermal incubation in vitro. Immunocytochemical studies have been used to establish the effects of heat shock on the organization and distribution of major karyoskeletal marker proteins in situ. Taken together, these results are consistent with the notion that in vivo, regulation of karyoskeletal plasticity (and perhaps form) may be a functionally significant component of the Drosophila heat shock response. They also have broad practical implications for studies pertaining to the structure and function of karyoskeletal protein (nuclear "matrix") fractions isolated from higher eukaryotic cells.

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