Dinoflagellate nucleus contains an extensive endomembrane network, the nuclear net

Gregory S. Gavelis, Maria Herranz, Kevin C. Wakeman, Christina Ripken, Satoshi Mitarai, Gillian Gile, Patrick J. Keeling, Brian S. Leander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Dinoflagellates are some of the most common eukaryotic cells in the ocean, but have very unusual nuclei. Many exhibit a form of closed mitosis (dinomitosis) wherein the nuclear envelope (NE) invaginates to form one or more trans-nuclear tunnels. Rather than contact spindles directly, the chromatids then bind to membrane-based kinetochores on the NE. To better understand these unique mitotic features, we reconstructed the nuclear architecture of Polykrikos kofoidii in 3D using focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) in conjunction with high-pressure freezing, freeze-substitution, TEM, and confocal microscopy. We found that P. kofoidii possessed six nuclear tunnels, which were continuous with a reticulating network of membranes that has thus far gone unnoticed. These membranous extensions interconnect the six tunnels while ramifying throughout the nucleus to form a “nuclear net.” To our knowledge, the nuclear net is the most elaborate endomembrane structure described within a nucleus. Our findings demonstrate the utility of tomographic approaches for detecting 3D membrane networks and show that nuclear complexity has been underestimated in Polykrikos kofoidii and, potentially, in other dinoflagellates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number839
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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