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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 1998;33(6):407-36.

Nucleolin: a multifunctional major nucleolar phosphoprotein.

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International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi, India.


Nucleolin is a major protein of exponentially growing eukaryotic cells where it is present in abundance at the heart of the nucleolus. It is highly conserved during evolution. Nucleolin contains a specific bipartite nuclear localization signal sequence and possesses a number of unusual structural features. It has unique tripartite structure and each domain performs a specific function by interacting with DNA or RNA or proteins. Nucleolin exhibits intrinsic self-cleaving, DNA helicase, RNA helicase and DNA-dependent ATPase activities. Nucleolin also acts as a sequence-specific RNA binding protein, an autoantigen, and as the component of a B cell specific transcription factor. Its phosphorylation by cdc2, CK2, and PKC-zeta modulate some of its activities. This multifunctional protein has been implicated to be involved directly or indirectly in many metabolic processes such as ribosome biogenesis (which includes rDNA transcription, pre-rRNA synthesis, rRNA processing, ribosomal assembly and maturation), cytokinesis, nucleogenesis, cell proliferation and growth, cytoplasmic-nucleolar transport of ribosomal components, transcriptional repression, replication, signal transduction, inducing chromatin decondensation and many more (see text). In plants it is developmentally, cell-cycle, and light regulated. The regulation of all these functions of a single protein seems to be a challenging puzzle.

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