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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Nov;1783(11):2108-15. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2008.07.016. Epub 2008 Aug 3.

The Cajal body.

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  • 1Wolfson Centre for Inherited Neuromuscular Disease, RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital, OSWESTRY, SY10 7AG, UK.


The Cajal body, originally identified over 100 years ago as a nucleolar accessory body in neurons, has come to be identified with nucleoplasmic structures, often quite tiny, that contain coiled threads of the marker protein, coilin. The interaction of coilin with other proteins appears to increase the efficiency of several nuclear processes by concentrating their components in the Cajal body. The best-known of these processes is the modification and assembly of U snRNPs, some of which eventually form the RNA splicing machinery, or spliceosome. Over the last 10 years, research into the function of Cajal bodies has been greatly stimulated by the discovery that SMN, the protein deficient in the inherited neuromuscular disease, spinal muscular atrophy, is a Cajal body component and has an essential role in the assembly of spliceosomal U snRNPs in the cytoplasm and their delivery to the Cajal body in the nucleus.

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