, 118:11 | Cite as

Chromatin: linking structure and function in the nucleolus



The nucleolus is an informative model structure for studying how chromatin-regulated transcription relates to nuclear organisation. In this review, we describe how chromatin controls nucleolar structure through both the modulation of rDNA activity by convergently-evolved remodelling complexes and by direct effects upon rDNA packaging. This packaging not only regulates transcription but may also be important for suppressing internal recombination between tandem rDNA repeats. The identification of nucleolar histone chaperones and novel chromatin proteins by mass spectrometry suggests that structure-specific chromatin components remain to be characterised and may regulate the nucleolus in novel ways. However, it also suggests that there is considerable overlap between nucleolar and non-nucleolar-chromatin components. We conclude that a fuller understanding of nucleolar chromatin will be essential for understanding how gene organisation is linked with nuclear architecture.



DNA methyltransferase


histone acetyltransferase


histone deacetylase


histone methyltransferase


mass spectrometry


nucleolar organiser region


ribosomal DNA


ribosomal RNA


upstream binding factor.



This work was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the UK (BBSRC).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cell and Developmental BiologyJohn Innes Centre, Norwich Research ParkNorwichUK

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