The assembly of C. elegans lamins into macroscopic fibers

Irena Zingerman-Koladko, Maayan Khayat, Jan Harapin, Oded Shoseyov, Yosef Gruenbaum, Ahmad Salman, Ohad Medalia, Kfir Ben-Harush*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Intermediate filament (IF) proteins are known mainly by their propensity to form viscoelastic filamentous networks within cells. In addition, IF-proteins are essential parts of various biological materials, such as horn and hagfish slime threads, which exhibit a range of mechanical properties from hard to elastic. These properties and their self-assembly nature made IF-proteins attractive building blocks for biomimetic and biological materials in diverse applications. Here we show that a type V IF-protein, the Caenorhabditis elegans nuclear lamin (Ce-lamin), is a promising building block for protein-based fibers. Electron cryo-tomography of vitrified sections enabled us to depict the higher ordered assembly of the Ce-lamin into macroscopic fibers through the creation of paracrystalline fibers, which are prominent in vitro structures of lamins. The lamin fibers respond to tensile force as other IF-protein-based fibers, i.e., hagfish slime threads, and possess unique mechanical properties that may potentially be used in certain applications. The self-assembly nature of lamin proteins into a filamentous structure, which is further assembled into a complex network, can be easily modulated. This knowledge may lead to a better understanding of the relationship in IF-proteins-based fibers and materials, between their hierarchical structures and their mechanical properties.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Biological fibers
  • Electron cryo-tomography
  • Intermediate filaments
  • Nuclear lamins
  • Stress-strain properties


Dive into the research topics of 'The assembly of C. elegans lamins into macroscopic fibers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this