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Cell Signal. 2004 Oct;16(10):1085-104.

Nuclear bodies and compartments: functional roles and cellular signalling in health and disease.

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Department of Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


There is much interest in recent years in the possible role of different nuclear compartments and subnuclear domains in the regulation of gene expression, signalling, and cellular functions. The nucleus contains inositol phosphates, actin and actin-binding proteins and myosin isoforms, multiple protein kinases and phosphatases targeting Cdk-1 and Cdk-2, MAPK/SAPK, and Src-related kinases and their substrates, suggesting the implication of several signalling pathways in the intranuclear organization and function of nuclear bodies (NBs). NBs include the well-characterized Cajal bodies (CBs; or coiled bodies), the nucleolus, perinucleolar and perichromatin regions, additional NBs best illustrated by the promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies [PML-NBs, also named PML oncogenic dots (PODs), ND10, Kr-bodies] and similar intranuclear foci containing multi-molecular complexes with major role in DNA replication, surveillance, and repair, as well as messenger RNA and ribosomal RNA synthesis and assembly. Chromatin modifying proteins, such as the CBP acetyltransferase and type I histone deacetylase, accumulate at PML-NBs. PML-NBs and Cajal bodies are very dynamic and mobile within the nuclear space and are regulated by cellular stress (heat shock, apoptosis, senescence, heavy metal exposure, viral infection, and DNA damage responses). NBs strongly interact, using signalling mechanisms for the directional and ordered traffic of essential molecular components. NBs organize the delivery and storage of essential RNAs and proteins that play a role in transcription, pre-mRNA biosynthesis and splicing, and the sequestration and/or degradation of regulatory proteins, such as heterogenous nuclear ribonuclear proteins (hnRNPs), p53, Rb1, CBP, STAT3, and others. The objective of this review is to summarize some aspects of these nuclear structures/bodies/domains, including their proposed roles in cellular signalling and in human diseases, mainly neurodegenerative disorders and cancer.

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