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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2000;16:273-300.

Cajal bodies: the first 100 years.

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Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution, Baltimore, Maryland 21210, USA.


Cajal bodies are small nuclear organelles first described nearly 100 years ago by Ramón y Cajal in vertebrate neural tissues. They have since been found in a variety of animal and plant nuclei, suggesting that they are involved in basic cellular processes. Cajal bodies contain a marker protein of unknown function, p80-coilin, and many components involved in transcription and processing of nuclear RNAs. Among these are the three eukaryotic RNA polymerases and factors required for transcribing and processing their respective nuclear transcripts: mRNA, rRNA, and pol III transcripts. A model is discussed in which Cajal bodies are the sites for preassembly of transcriptosomes, unitary particles involved in transcription and processing of RNA. A parallel is drawn to the nucleolus and the preassembly of ribosomes, which are unitary particles involved in translation of proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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