Visualizing the molecular sociology at the HeLa cell nuclear periphery

Julia Mahamid, Stefan Pfeffer, Miroslava Schaffer, Elizabeth Villa, Radostin Danev, Luis Kuhn Cuellar, Friedrich Förster, Anthony A Hyman, Jürgen M Plitzko, Wolfgang Baumeister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The molecular organization of eukaryotic nuclear volumes remains largely unexplored. Here we combined recent developments in cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) to produce three-dimensional snapshots of the HeLa cell nuclear periphery. Subtomogram averaging and classification of ribosomes revealed the native structure and organization of the cytoplasmic translation machinery. Analysis of a large dynamic structure-the nuclear pore complex-revealed variations detectable at the level of individual complexes. Cryo-ET was used to visualize previously elusive structures, such as nucleosome chains and the filaments of the nuclear lamina, in situ. Elucidation of the lamina structure provides insight into its contribution to metazoan nuclear stiffness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969-72
Number of pages4
Issue number6276
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Electron Microscope Tomography
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Lamina
  • Nuclear Pore
  • Nucleosomes
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Ribosomes


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