Polyphyly of nuclear lamin genes indicates an early eukaryotic origin of the metazoan-type intermediate filament proteins
The nuclear lamina is a protein meshwork associated with the inner side of the nuclear envelope contributing structural, signalling and regulatory functions. Here, I report on the evolution of an important component of the lamina, the lamin intermediate filament proteins, across the eukaryotic tree of life. The lamins show a variety of protein domain and sequence motif architectures beyond the classical α-helical rod, nuclear localisation signal, immunoglobulin domain and CaaX motif organisation, suggesting extension and adaptation of functions in many species. I identified lamin genes not only in metazoa and Amoebozoa as previously described, but also in other opisthokonts including Ichthyosporea and choanoflagellates, in oomycetes, a sub-family of Stramenopiles and in Rhizaria, implying that they must have been present very early in eukaryotic evolution if not even the last common ancestor of all extant eukaryotes. These data considerably extend the current perception of lamin evolution and have important implications with regard to the evolution of the nuclear envelope.