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Micronuclei are extra-nuclear bodies mainly derived from ana-telophase lagging chromosomes/chromatins (LCs) that are not incorporated into primary nuclei at mitotic exit. Unlike primary nuclei, most micronuclei are enclosed by nuclear envelope (NE) that is highly susceptible to spontaneous and irreparable rupture. Ruptured micronuclei act as triggers of chromothripsis-like chaotic chromosomal rearrangements and cGAS-mediated innate immunity and inflammation, raising the view that micronuclei play active roles in human aging and tumorigenesis. Thus, understanding the ways in which micronuclear envelope (mNE) goes awry acquires increased importance. Here, we review the data to present a general framework for this question. We firstly describe NE reassembly after mitosis and NE repair during interphase. Simultaneously, we briefly discuss how mNE is organized and how mNE rupture controls the fate of micronuclei and micronucleated cells. As a focus of this review, we highlight current knowledge about why mNE is rupture-prone and irreparable. For this, we survey observations from a series of elegant studies to provide a systematic overview. We conclude that the birth of rupture-prone and irreparable micronuclei may be the cumulative effects of their intracellular geographic origins, biophysical properties, and specific mNE features. We propose that DNA damage and immunogenicity in micronuclei increase stepwise from altered mNE components, mNE rupture, and refractory to repair. Throughout our discussion, we note interesting issues in mNE fragility that have yet to be resolved.


Xihan Guo, Xueqin Dai, Xue Wu, Tao Zhou, Juan Ni, Jinglun Xue, Xu Wang. Understanding the birth of rupture-prone and irreparable micronuclei. Chromosoma. 2020 Dec;129(3-4):181-200

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PMID: 32671520

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