Nuclear lamin isoforms of vertebrates can be divided into two major classes. The B-type lamins are membrane associated throughout the cell cycle, whereas A-type lamins are recovered from mitotic cell homogenates in membrane-free fractions. A feature of oogenesis in birds and mammals is the nearly exclusive presence of B-type lamins in oocyte nuclear envelopes. In contrast, oocytes and early cleavage embryos of the amphibian Xenopus laevis are believed to contain a single lamin isoform, lamin LIII, which after nuclear envelope breakdown during meiotic maturation is reported to be completely soluble. Consequently, we have reexamined the lamin complement of Xenopus oocyte nuclear envelopes, egg extracts, and early embryos. An mAb (X223) specific for the homologous B-type lamins B2 of mouse and LII of Xenopus somatic cells (Höger, T., K. Zatloukal, I. Waizenegger, and G. Krohne. 1990. Chromosoma. 99:379-390) recognized a Xenopus oocyte nuclear envelope protein biochemically distinct from lamin LIII and very similar or identical to somatic cell lamin LII. Oocyte lamin LII was detectable in nuclear envelopes of early cleavage embryos. Immunoblotting of fractionated egg extracts revealed that approximately 20-23% of lamin LII and 5-7% of lamin LIII were membrane associated. EM immunolocalization demonstrated that membrane-bound lamins LII and LIII are associated with separate vesicle populations. These findings are relevant to the interpretation of nuclear reconstitution experiments using Xenopus egg extracts.

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