Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Paraspeckles are irregularly shaped compartments in the nucleus' interchromatin space. First documented in HeLa cells, where there are generally 10–30 per nucleus, paraspeckles are now known to also exist in all human primary cells, transformed cell lines and tissue sections. Their name is derived from their distribution in the nucleus; the "para" is short for parallel and the "speckles" refers to the splicing speckles to which they are always in close proximity.

Paraspeckles are dynamic structures that are altered in response to changes in cellular metabolic activity. They are transcription dependent and in the absence of RNA Pol II transcription, the paraspeckle disappears and all of its associated protein components (PSP1, p54nrb, PSP2, CFI(m)68 and PSF) form a crescent shaped perinucleolar cap in the nucleolus.


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