PLoS Genet. 6, e1000889 (2010)

The largest compartment in the cell's nucleus is the nucleolus, which produces the machinery needed for protein synthesis and regulates other cellular processes. Certain sections of DNA are associated with the nucleolus, but little is known about its molecular structure.

Gernot Längst of the University of Regensburg in Germany and his co-workers analysed DNA from isolated human nucleoli and identified specific genomic regions that are associated with this nuclear compartment.

Analysis of microarray and sequencing data revealed 97 regions, constituting about 4% of the genome, associated with nucleoli. These regions were enriched for gene families involved in specific functions, such as certain types of immunity. The team hopes that this map will lend insight into how the cell uses DNA-encoded information to construct and maintain structures such as the nucleolus.