The SURF-6 protein is a component of the nucleolar matrix and has a high binding capacity for nucleic acids in vitro

Eur J Cell Biol. 1998 Feb;75(2):174-83. doi: 10.1016/S0171-9335(98)80059-9.


The recently identified novel protein SURF-6 is shown to be a component of the nucleolar matrix. Immunofluorescence analysis demonstrated that SURF-6 was localized in residual nucleoli of in situ nuclear matrix preparations of mouse fibroblast cells (NIH 3T3), which were depleted of soluble and chromatin related proteins. Immunoblot analysis of biochemical nucleolar subfractions confirmed that SURF-6 was present in the nucleolar matrix fraction, and was absent from the fractions of soluble proteins released by DNase or RNase. The capacity of SURF-6 to bind nucleic acids was investigated in vitro. Both endogenous SURF-6 from nuclear extracts and recombinant SURF-6 exhibited a strong binding capacity for nucleic acids. It was shown that SURF-6 bound to both DNA and RNA, however, it showed stronger binding to RNA. The presence and nuclear distribution of SURF-6 during the cell cycle was explored by immunofluorescence analysis. It was shown that SURF-6 was always found in the nucleolus regardless of the phase of the cell cycle suggesting that it is a structural protein constitutively present in nucleolar substructures. The colocalization of SURF-6 with the major nucleolar proteins B23 and fibrillarin, which are known to be involved in the processing of ribosomal RNA (rRNA), was examined both in interphase and mitosis by double immunolabeling of cells. SURF-6 was found to be largely coincident with both proteins in interphase and it was distributed in the same cellular locations, namely the perichromosomal layer, the cytoplasm and prenucleolar bodies, in mitosis. However, colocalization of SURF-6 with fibrillarin and B23 was only partial in interphase, and the dynamics of its localization was not completely the same as those of either fibrillarin or B23 during mitosis. Taken together, these results indicate that SURF-6 is a novel nucleolar matrix component and imply that SURF-6 might support nucleolar matrix structure and function(s) via its association with nucleic acids. We propose that SURF-6 may be involved in processing of rRNA, based on its cytological characteristics, but at stages in ribosomal biogenesis which are different from those for fibrillarin and B23.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / analysis
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Nuclear Matrix / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / analysis
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nucleophosmin
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism


  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Npm1 protein, mouse
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Surf6 protein, mouse
  • fibrillarin
  • Nucleophosmin
  • RNA
  • DNA