nucleolar transcription generates a complex network of RNAs with multiple roles in maintaining cellular homeostasis

  1. James L. Manley

  1. Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, USA
  1. Corresponding author: jlm2{at}


Nucleoli are the major cellular compartments for the synthesis of rRNA and assembly of ribosomes, the macromolecular complexes
responsible for protein synthesis. Given the abundance of ribosomes, there is a huge demand for rRNA, which indeed constitutes
∼80% of the mass of RNA in the cell. Thus, nucleoli are characterized by extensive transcription of multiple rDNA loci by
the dedicated polymerase, RNA polymerase (Pol) I. However, in addition to producing rRNAs, there is considerable additional
transcription in nucleoli by RNA Pol II as well as Pol I, producing multiple noncoding (nc) and, in one instance, coding RNAs.
In this review, we discuss important features of these transcripts, which often appear species-specific and reflect transcription
antisense to pre-rRNA by Pol II and within the intergenic spacer regions on both strands by both Pol I and Pol II. We discuss
how expression of these RNAs is regulated, their propensity to form cotranscriptional R loops, and how they modulate rRNA
transcription, nucleolar structure, and cellular homeostasis more generally.

Read more here: Source link