The nucleolus: an old factory with unexpected capabilities

Trends Cell Biol. 2000 May;10(5):189-96. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(00)01738-4.


The function of the nucleolus as a factory for assembling ribosomal subunits is well established, but many unrelated activities have been discovered over the past decade. Our understanding of the dynamics of nucleolar structure and its reassembly at the end of mitosis has recently advanced and the small nucleolar RNAs have been shown to be major players in the processing and modification of preribosomal RNA. Unexpectedly, the nucleolus also seems to play a role in nuclear export, sequestering regulatory molecules, modifying small RNAs, assembling ribonucleoprotein (RNP) and controlling aging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleolus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleolus / physiology*
  • Cell Nucleolus / ultrastructure*
  • Humans
  • Mitosis
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA Polymerase I
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional
  • RNA, Ribosomal / metabolism
  • Ribosomes / genetics
  • Ribosomes / physiology
  • Ribosomes / ultrastructure


  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA Polymerase I