Coilin: The first 25 years

RNA Biol. 2015;12(6):590-6. doi: 10.1080/15476286.2015.1034923.


Initially identified as a marker of coiled bodies (now Cajal bodies or CBs), the protein coilin was discovered a quarter of century ago. Coilin is now known to scaffold the CB, but its structure and function are poorly understood. Nearly devoid of predicted structural motifs, coilin has numerous reported molecular interactions that must underlie its role in the formation and function of CBs. In this review, we summarize what we have learned in the past 25 years about coilin's structure, post-transcriptional modifications, and interactions with RNA and proteins. We show that genes with homology to human coilin are found in primitive metazoans and comment on differences among model organisms. Coilin's function in Cajal body formation and RNP metabolism will be discussed in the light of these developments.

Keywords: Cajal body; coilin; histone; small Cajal body-specific RNA (scaRNA); small nuclear RNA (snRNA); small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (snRNP); small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA); spliceosome; splicing; telomere.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coiled Bodies / metabolism*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Proteins / chemistry
  • Nuclear Proteins / history
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*


  • Nuclear Proteins
  • p80-coilin