Assembly and disassembly of the nucleolus during the cell cycle

Nucleus. May-Jun 2011;2(3):189-94. doi: 10.4161/nucl.2.3.16246.


The nucleolus is a large nuclear domain in which transcription, maturation and assembly of ribosomes take place. In higher eukaryotes, nucleolar organization in three sub-domains reflects the compartmentation of the machineries related to active or inactive transcription of the ribosomal DNA, ribosomal RNA processing and assembly with ribosomal proteins of the two (40S and 60S) ribosomal subunits. The assembly of the nucleoli during telophase/early G(1) depends on pre-existing machineries inactivated during prophase (the transcription machinery and RNP processing complexes) and on partially processed 45S rRNAs inherited throughout mitosis. In telophase, the 45S rRNAs nucleate the prenucleolar bodies and order the dynamics of nucleolar assembly. The assembly/disassembly processes of the nucleolus depend on the equilibrium between phosphorylation/dephosphorylation of the transcription machinery and on the RNP processing complexes under the control of the CDK1-cyclin B kinase and PP1 phosphatases. The dynamics of assembly/disassembly of the nucleolus is time and space regulated.

Keywords: CDK1/PP1; PNBs; cell cycle; nucleolar assembly; nucleolus; rRNA processing; traffic in living cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle* / genetics
  • Cell Nucleolus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleolus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mitosis / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • RNA, Ribosomal