. 2020 Apr; 21(8):2998.
doi: 10.3390/ijms21082998.

From Snapshots to Flipbook-Resolving the Dynamics of Ribosome Biogenesis with Chemical Probes

Lisa Kofler 1 Michael Prattes 1 Helmut Bergler 1 
  • PMID: 32340379
  •     113 References
  •     1 citations


The synthesis of ribosomes is one of the central and most resource demanding processes in each living cell. As ribosome biogenesis is tightly linked with the regulation of the cell cycle, perturbation of ribosome formation can trigger severe diseases, including cancer. Eukaryotic ribosome biogenesis starts in the nucleolus with pre-rRNA transcription and the initial assembly steps, continues in the nucleoplasm and is finished in the cytoplasm. From start to end, this process is highly dynamic and finished within few minutes. Despite the tremendous progress made during the last decade, the coordination of the individual maturation steps is hard to unravel by a conventional methodology. In recent years small molecular compounds were identified that specifically block either rDNA transcription or distinct steps within the maturation pathway. As these inhibitors diffuse into the cell rapidly and block their target proteins within seconds, they represent excellent tools to investigate ribosome biogenesis. Here we review how the inhibitors affect ribosome biogenesis and discuss how these effects can be interpreted by taking the complex self-regulatory mechanisms of the pathway into account. With this we want to highlight the potential of low molecular weight inhibitors to approach the dynamic nature of the ribosome biogenesis pathway.

Keywords: chemical probing; feedback regulation; regulation of ribosome assembly; ribosome biogenesis; ribosome biogenesis inhibitors; ribosome trafficking.

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