The nucleolus: a model for the organization of nuclear functions

  • Danièle Hernandez-VerdunEmail author


Nucleoli are the prominent contrasted structures of the cell nucleus. In the nucleolus, ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) are synthesized, processed and assembled with ribosomal proteins. The size and organization of the nucleolus are directly related to ribosome production. The organization of the nucleolus reveals the functional compartmentation of the nucleolar machineries that depends on nucleolar activity. When this activity is blocked, disrupted or impossible, the nucleolar proteins have the capacity to interact independently of the processing activity. In addition, nucleoli are dynamic structures in which nucleolar proteins rapidly associate and dissociate with nucleolar components in continuous exchanges with the nucleoplasm. At the time of nucleolar assembly, the processing machineries are recruited in a regulated manner in time and space, controlled by different kinases and form intermediate structures, the prenucleolar bodies. The participation of stable pre-rRNAs in nucleolar assembly was demonstrated after mitosis and during development but this is an intriguing observation since the role of these pre-rRNAs is presently unknown. A brief report on the nucleolus and diseases is proposed as well as of nucleolar functions different from ribosome biogenesis.


Nucleolus Cell cycle assembly Dynamics Organization rRNA PNB Diseases 



The authors thank Myriam Barre for help in photographic work and A.L. Haenni for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported in part by grants from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer (Contracts 3303).


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© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nuclei and Cell Cycle, Institut Jacques MonodCNRS, Université Paris VI, Université Paris VIIParis Cedex 05France

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