The coiled body is a phylogenetically conserved nuclear organelle whose function is not known. Probes for detection of p80-coilin, an 80 kDa protein enriched in the coiled body, have made possible studies determining the behavior of the coiled body during the cell cycle, in proliferating cells, as well as reports suggesting some relationship of the coiled body to mRNA splicing and to the nucleolus. The objective of this study is to examine the distribution of p80-coilin and nucleolar proteins in cells infected with adenovirus in vitro. HeLa cells grown as monolayers were infected with successive dilutions of type 5 human adenovirus culture and fixed in methanol/acetone at different time points. Single and double indirect immunofluorescence was performed with human autoantibodies to p80-coilin, fibrillarin, NOR-90/hUBF, RNA polymerase I, PM-Scl, and To, as well as rabbit polyclonal serum to p80-coilin (R288) and mouse monoclonal antibody to adenovirus 72-kDa DNA-binding protein. Indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) with anti- p80-coilin antibodies showed that the usual bright dot-like coiled body staining pattern was replaced in infected cells by 1–5 clusters of tiny dots at the periphery of the nucleus. This phenomenon was first detected within 12 h of infection and affected more severely cells with increased length and load of infection. Cells subjected to heat shock presented no such alteration. Double IIF showed that cells with abnormal coiled body appearance expressed the viral 72-kDa DNA-binding protein. Nucleolar proteins RNA polymerase I and NOR-90/hUBF became associated with the p80-coilin-enriched clusters and were no longer detected in the nucleolus. Other nucleolar proteins, like PM-Scl and To, remained associated to the nucleolus and were not detected in the newly formed clusters. Fibrillarin had a heterogeneous behavior, being restricted to the nucleolus in some infected cells while in some others it was associated with the p80-coilin-enriched clusters. Thus our results showed that in vitro adenovirus infection induced radical redistribution of nucleolar and coiled body constituents into newly formed structures characterized by clusters of tiny dots in the periphery of the nucleus. The fact that three major proteins involved in rRNA synthesis and processing colocalized with p80-coilin in these clusters may bring additional support to the idea that the coiled body and p80-coilin may be implicated in functions related to the nucleolus.