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

Funding Information:
This work was supported by an internal funding program of SCE – Shamoon College of Engineering to K.B-H and A.S, a Swiss National Science Foundation Grant ( SNSF 31003A 159706/1 ), the Mäxi Foundation to O.M and GIF I-1289-412.13/2015 to Y.G. and O.M. We also thank the Center for Microscopy and Image Analysis of the University of Zurich. We also thank Yael Diskin Posner from the Chemical Support Unit at the Weizmann Institute of Science, for her help with the optical microscopy.

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