The perinucleolar compartment (PNC) is a distinct nuclear body that localizes to the nucleolar periphery. The PNC is predominantly found in cancer cells, and recent evidence suggests that PNC prevalence can be a pan-cancer marker for tumors of solid tissue origin. The PNC is a heritable structure enriched with newly transcribed pol III RNAs and RNA-binding proteins, which exchange rapidly with the surrounding nucleoplasm. The structural integrity of the PNC is dependent upon the continuous transcription of pol III RNA and an intact DNA structure. Although the complete structure and function of the PNC remains to be resolved, much progress has been made in the characterization of the PNC in recent years. Here we summarize our current understanding of the dynamics, structure and function of the PNC.
2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.