Indexed on: 24 May '07Published on: 24 May '07Published in: Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
The nucleolus is a distinct subnuclear compartment that was first observed more than 200 years ago. Nucleoli assemble around the tandemly repeated ribosomal DNA gene clusters and 28S, 18S and 5.8S ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) are transcribed as a single precursor, which is processed and assembled with the 5S rRNA into ribosome subunits. Although the nucleolus is primarily associated with ribosome biogenesis, several lines of evidence now show that it has additional functions. Some of these functions, such as regulation of mitosis, cell-cycle progression and proliferation, many forms of stress response and biogenesis of multiple ribonucleoprotein particles, will be discussed, as will the relation of the nucleolus to human diseases.