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Protoplasma. 2006 Sep;228(4):209-19. Epub 2006 Jul 17.

Subnucleolar location of fibrillarin and NopA64 in Lepidium sativum root meristematic cells is changed in altered gravity.

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Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Madrid, Spain.


Fibrillarin and the plant nucleolin homolog NopA64 are two important nucleolar proteins involved in pre-rRNA processing. In order to determine the effects of the altered gravity environment on the nucleolus, we have investigated the location of fibrillarin and NopA64 in nucleolar subcomponents of cress (Lepidium sativum L.) root meristematic cells grown under clinorotation, which reproduces an important feature of microgravity, namely, the absence of the orienting action of a gravity vector, and compared it to the location in control cells grown in normal 1 g conditions. Prior to these experiments, we report here the characterization of cress fibrillarin as a 41 kDa protein which can be isolated from meristematic cells in three nuclear fractions, namely, the soluble ribonucleoprotein fraction, the chromatin fraction, and the nuclear-matrix fraction. Furthermore, as reported for other species, the location of both fibrillarin and NopA64 in the cress cell nucleolus was in zones known to contain complex ribonucleoprotein particles involved in early pre-rRNA processing, i.e., processomes. Under altered gravity, a decrease in the quantity of both fibrillarin and NopA64 compared to controls was observed in the transition zone between fibrillar centers and the dense fibrillar component, as well as in the bulk of the dense fibrillar component. These data suggest that altered (reduced) gravity results in a lowered level of functional activity in the nucleolus.

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