Signal recognition particle components in the nucleolus

Joan C. Politz, Serge Yarovoi, Susan M. Kilroy, Krishne Gowda, Christian Zwieb, Thoru Pederson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


The signal recognition particle (SRP) is a ribonucleoprotein composed of an Alu domain and an S domain. The S domain contains unique sequence SRP RNA and four SRP proteins: SRP19, SRP54, SRP68, and SRP72. SRP interacts with ribosomes to bring translating membrane and secreted proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) for proper processing. Additionally, SRP RNA is a member of a family of small nonribosomal RNAs found recently in the nucleolus, suggesting that the nucleolus is more plurifunctional than previously realized. It was therefore of interest to determine whether other SRP components localize to this intranuclear site. In transfected rat fibroblasts, green fluorescent protein fusions of SRP19, SRP68, and SRP72 localized to the nucleolus, as well as to the cytoplasm, as expected. SRP68 also accumulated in the ER, consistent with its affinity for the ER-bound SRP receptor. SRP54 was detected in the cytoplasm as a green fluorescent protein fusion and in immunofluorescence studies, but was not detected in the nucleolus. In situ hybridization experiments also revealed endogenous SRP RNA in the nucleolus. These results demonstrate that SRP RNA and three SRP proteins visit the nucleolus, suggesting that partial SRP assembly, or another unidentified activity of the SRP components, occurs at the nucleolus. SRP54 apparently interacts with nascent SRP beyond the nucleolus, consistent with in vitro reconstitution experiments showing that SRP19 must bind to SRP RNA before SRP54 binds. Our findings support the notion that the nucleolus is the site of assembly and/or interaction between the family of ribonucleoproteins involved in protein synthesis, in addition to ribosomes themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-60
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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