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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2005 Jun;17(3):281-6.

Crosstalk in gene expression: coupling and co-regulation of rDNA transcription, pre-ribosome assembly and pre-rRNA processing.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Ribosomes, the large RNPs that translate mRNA into protein in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells, are synthesized in a subcompartment of the nucleus, the nucleolus. There, transcription by Pol I yields a pre-rRNA which is modified, cleaved and assembled with ribosomal proteins to make functional ribosomes. Previously, rRNA transcription and pre-rRNA cleavage in eukaryotes were considered to be separable steps in gene expression. However, recent findings suggest that these two steps in gene expression can be concurrent and are co-regulated. Unexpectedly, optimal rDNA transcription requires the presence of a defined subset of components of the pre-rRNA processing machinery.

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