Biogenesis and function of nuclear bodies

Trends Genet. 2011 Aug;27(8):295-306. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2011.05.006. Epub 2011 Jun 15.


Nuclear bodies including nucleoli, Cajal bodies, nuclear speckles, Polycomb bodies, and paraspeckles are membraneless subnuclear organelles. They are present at steady-state and dynamically respond to basic physiological processes as well as to various forms of stress, altered metabolic conditions and alterations in cellular signaling. The formation of a specific nuclear body has been suggested to follow a stochastic or ordered assembly model. In addition, a seeding mechanism has been proposed to assemble, maintain, and regulate particular nuclear bodies. In coordination with noncoding RNAs, chromatin modifiers and other machineries, various nuclear bodies have been shown to sequester and modify proteins, process RNAs and assemble ribonucleoprotein complexes, as well as epigenetically regulate gene expression. Understanding the functional relationships between the 3D organization of the genome and nuclear bodies is essential to fully uncover the regulation of gene expression and its implications for human disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Cell Nucleus Structures / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus Structures / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sumoylation
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • RNA