Many types of cancer cells exhibit abnormal nuclear shapes induced by various molecular changes. However, whether reactive oxygen species (ROS) induce nuclear deformation has not been fully addressed. Here, we show that hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) treatment induced concentration-dependent alterations in nuclear shape that were abolished by pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine or by catalase overexpression. Interestingly, treatment with H2O2 induced nuclear shape alterations significantly more frequently in mitotic cells than in asynchronous cells, suggesting that H2O2 mainly affects nuclear envelope disassembly and/or reassembly processes. Because protein phosphatase 2 A (PP2A) activity is reported to be involved in nuclear envelope reassembly during mitosis, we investigated the possible involvement of PP2A. Indeed, H2O2 reduced the activity of PP2A, an effect that was mimicked by the PP1 and PP2A inhibitor okadaic acid. Moreover, overexpression of PP2A but not PP1 or PP4 partially rescued H2O2-induced alterations in nuclear shape, indicating that the decrease in PP2A activity induced by H2O2 is specifically involved in the observed nuclear shape alterations. We further show that treatment of mitotic cells with H2O2 induced the mislocalization of BAF (barrier-to-autointegration factor), a substrate of PP2A, during telophase. This effect was associated with Lamin A/C mislocalization and was rescued by PP2A overexpression. Collectively, our findings suggest that H2O2 preferentially affects mitotic cells through PP2A inhibition, which induces the subsequent mislocalization of BAF and Lamin A/C during nuclear envelope reassembly, leading to the formation of an abnormal nuclear shape.
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