B-type lamins, the major components of the nuclear lamina, are believed to be essential for cell proliferation and survival. We found that mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) do not need any lamins for self-renewal and pluripotency. Although genome-wide lamin-B binding profiles correlate with reduced gene expression, such binding is not directly required for gene silencing in ESCs or trophectoderm cells. However, B-type lamins are required for proper organogenesis. Defects in spindle orientation in neural progenitor cells and migration of neurons probably cause brain disorganizations found in lamin-B null mice. Thus, our studies not only disprove several prevailing views of lamin-Bs but also establish a foundation for redefining the function of the nuclear lamina in the context of tissue building and homeostasis.
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