Providing a stable physical connection between the nucleus and the cytoskeleton is essential for a wide range of cellular functions and it could also participate in mechanosensing by transmitting intra- and extra-cellular mechanical stimuli via the cytoskeleton to the nucleus. Nesprins and SUN proteins, located at the nuclear envelope, form the LINC (linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton) complex that connects the nucleus to the cytoskeleton; underlying nuclear lamins contribute to anchoring LINC complex components at the nuclear envelope. Disruption of the LINC complex or loss of lamins can result in disturbed perinuclear actin and intermediate filament networks and causes severe functional defects, including impaired nuclear positioning, cell polarization and cell motility. Recent studies have identified the LINC complex as the major force-transmitting element at the nuclear envelope and suggest that many of the aforementioned defects can be attributed to disturbed force transmission between the nucleus and the cytoskeleton. Thus mutations in nesprins, SUN proteins or lamins, which have been linked to muscular dystrophies and cardiomyopathies, may weaken or completely eliminate LINC complex function at the nuclear envelope and result in impaired intracellular force transmission, thereby disrupting critical cellular functions.

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