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Chromosoma. 2015 Sep;124(3):323-31. doi: 10.1007/s00412-015-0507-z. Epub 2015 Feb 12.

Determinants of mammalian nucleolar architecture.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA.


The nucleolus is responsible for the production of ribosomes, essential machines which synthesize all proteins needed by the cell. The structure of human nucleoli is highly dynamic and is directly related to its functions in ribosome biogenesis. Despite the importance of this organelle, the intricate relationship between nucleolar structure and function remains largely unexplored. How do cells control nucleolar formation and function? What are the minimal requirements for making a functional nucleolus? Here we review what is currently known regarding mammalian nucleolar formation at nucleolar organizer regions (NORs), which can be studied by observing the dissolution and reformation of the nucleolus during each cell division. Additionally, the nucleolus can be examined by analyzing how alterations in nucleolar function manifest in differences in nucleolar architecture. Furthermore, changes in nucleolar structure and function are correlated with cancer, highlighting the importance of studying the determinants of nucleolar formation.

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