Cell Biology

RNA Builders

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Science  11 Feb 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6018, pp. 650
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6018.650-c

The organization of the various—and often transient—compartments within the eukaryotic cell nucleus remains an underexplored area of cell biology. RNAs are suggested to be important in the morphogenesis of the nucleolus, the histone locus body (HLB), and splicing speckles, for example, all of which form in the vicinity of actively transcribed gene loci. To explore this idea further, Shevtsov and Dundr localized specific RNAs to a particular region of chromatin in HeLa cells and asked if they could initiate the formation of nuclear bodies. They found that histone H2b RNA drove the formation of HLBs with similar kinetics, composition, and structure as wild-type HLBs. Similarly, a tethered RNA polymerase II transcript from the β-globin gene was able to nucleate the formation of splicing speckles. Noncoding RNAs were able to initiate the formation of paraspeckles and nuclear stress bodies. The function of RNA in the nucleation step of nuclear body formation may be to act as a scaffold to localize diffusible proteins in the nucleoplasm, which in turn can recruit additional components of the structure.

Nat. Cell Biol. 12, 167 (2011).

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