Pumping RNA: nuclear bodybuilding along the RNP pipeline

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2006 Jun;18(3):317-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2006.03.005. Epub 2006 May 2.


Cajal bodies (CBs) are nuclear subdomains involved in the biogenesis of several classes of small ribonucleoproteins (RNPs). A number of recent advances highlight progress in the understanding of the organization and dynamics of CB components. For example, a class of small Cajal body-specific (sca) RNPs has been discovered. Localization of scaRNPs to CBs was shown to depend on a conserved RNA motif. Intriguingly, this motif is also present in mammalian telomerase RNA and the evidence suggests that assembly of the active form of telomerase RNP occurs in and around CBs during S phase. Important steps in the assembly and modification of spliceosomal RNPs have also been shown to take place in CBs. Additional experiments have revealed the existence of kinetically distinct subclasses of CB components. Finally, the recent identification of novel markers for CBs in both Drosophila and Arabidopsis not only lays to rest questions about the evolutionary conservation of these nuclear suborganelles, but also should enable forward genetic screens for the identification of new components and pathways involved in their assembly, maintenance and function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coiled Bodies / metabolism*
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA Precursors / metabolism
  • RNA Splicing
  • RNA, Small Nuclear / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U2 Small Nuclear / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear / metabolism*
  • S Phase
  • SMN Complex Proteins
  • Spliceosomes / metabolism
  • Telomerase / metabolism


  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA Precursors
  • RNA, Small Nuclear
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U2 Small Nuclear
  • Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear
  • SMN Complex Proteins
  • splicing factor 3a
  • Telomerase