A new role of the rDNA and nucleolus in the nucleus--rDNA instability maintains genome integrity

Bioessays. 2008 Mar;30(3):267-72. doi: 10.1002/bies.20723.


The nucleolus is a region of the nucleus with high protein density and it acts as a ribosome factory. The nucleolus contains a distinct region of the genome, the ribosomal RNA gene repeats (rDNA) that supply ribosomal RNA (rRNA) molecules. The rDNA is the most-abundant gene and occupies a large part of the genome, for example, there are thousands of rDNA copies in the genomes of plant cells. Therefore, it is natural to suppose that the condition of the rDNA, such as its stability, might affect cellular functions. Here I would like to propose a new model regarding the roles of the rDNA and nucleolus. The key point of this model is that they act to preserve genome stability and trigger aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleolus / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cellular Senescence
  • DNA, Recombinant / metabolism
  • DNA, Ribosomal / metabolism*
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae


  • DNA, Recombinant
  • DNA, Ribosomal