Physical interactions between lamins and emerin were investigated by co-immunoprecipitation of in vitro translated proteins. Emerin interacted with in vitro translated lamins A, B-1 and C in co-immunprecipitation reactions. Competition reactions revealed a clear preference for interactions between emerin and lamin C. Structural associations between lamins and emerin were investigated in four human cell lines displaying abnormal expression and/or localisation of lamins A and C. In each cell line absence of lamins A and C from the nuclear envelope (NE) was correlated with mis-localisation of endogenous and exogenous emerin to the ER. In two cell lines that did not express lamin A but did express lamin C, lamin C as well as emerin was mis-localised. When GFP-lamin A was expressed in SW13 cells (which normally express only very low levels of endogenous lamin A and mis-localise endogenous emerin and lamin C), all three proteins became associated with the NE. When GFP-lamin C was expressed in SW13 cells neither the endogenous nor the exogenous lamin C was localised to the NE and emerin remained in the ER. Finally, lamins A and C were selectively eliminated from the NE of HeLa cells using a dominant negative mutant of lamin B-1. Elimination of these lamins from the lamina led to the accumulation of emerin as aggregates within the ER. Our data suggest that lamin A is essential for anchorage of emerin to the inner nuclear membrane and of lamin C to the lamina.