Nucleolin is a multifunctional phosphoprotein ubiquitously distributed in the nucleolus, nucleus and cytoplasm of the cell. Nucleolin has a bipartite nuclear localization signal sequence and is conserved in animals, plants and yeast. Its levels are correlated with the rate of functional activity of the nucleolus in exponentially growing cells. Nucleolin contains intrinsic DNA and RNA helicase, nucleic-acid-dependent ATPase and self-cleaving activities. It binds RNA through its RNA recognition motifs. It regulates various aspects of DNA and RNA metabolism, chromatin structure, rDNA transcription, rRNA maturation, cytokinesis, nucleogenesis, cell proliferation and growth, the folding, maturation and ribosome assembly and nucleocytoplasmic transport of newly synthesized pre-RNAs. In this review we present an overview on nucleolin, its localization, structure and various functions. We also describe the discovery and important studies of nucleolin in plants.
Keywords: cytoplasm; helicase; nucleolus; phosphoprotein; ribosome.