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Nucleolin is a protein that in humans is encoded by the NCL gene.[1][2]


The human NCL gene is located on chromosome 2 and consists of 14 exons with 13 introns and spans approximately 11kb. The intron 11 of the NCL gene encodes a small nucleolar RNA, termed U20.[3]


Nucleolin (NCL), a eukaryotic nucleolar phosphoprotein, is involved in the synthesis and maturation of ribosomes.[3] The protein is located mainly in dense fibrillar regions of the nucleolus.

Nucleolin is also able to act as a transcriptional coactivator with Chicken Ovalbumin Upstream Promoter Transcription Factor II (COUP-TFII).[4]

Clinical significance

Midkine and pleiotrophin bind to cell-surface nucleolin as a low affinity receptor. This binding can inhibit HIV infection.[5][6]

Nucleolin at the cell surface is the receptor for the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) fusion protein.[7] Interference with the nucleolin - RSV fusion protein interaction has been shown to be therapeutic against RSV infection in cell cultures and animal models.[8][9][10]


Nucleolin has been shown to interact with:


  1. Srivastava M, McBride OW, Fleming PJ, Pollard HB, Burns AL (Sep 1990). "Genomic organization and chromosomal localization of the human nucleolin gene". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 265 (25): 14922–31. PMID 2394707.
  2. Erard MS, Belenguer P, Caizergues-Ferrer M, Pantaloni A, Amalric F (Aug 1988). "A major nucleolar protein, nucleolin, induces chromatin decondensation by binding to histone H1". European Journal of Biochemistry / FEBS. 175 (3): 525–30. doi:10.1111/j.1432-1033.1988.tb14224.x. PMID 3409881.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Entrez Gene: NCL nucleolin".
  4. Litchfield LM, Riggs KA, Hockenberry AM, Oliver LD, Barnhart KG, Cai J, Pierce WM, Ivanova MM, Bates PJ, Appana SN, Datta S, Kulesza P, McBryan J, Young LS, Klinge CM (May 2012). "Identification and characterization of nucleolin as a COUP-TFII coactivator of retinoic acid receptor β transcription in breast cancer cells". PLOS ONE. 7 (5): e38278. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038278. PMC 3365040. PMID 22693611.
  5. Said EA, Krust B, Nisole S, Svab J, Briand JP, Hovanessian AG (Oct 2002). "The anti-HIV cytokine midkine binds the cell surface-expressed nucleolin as a low affinity receptor". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 277 (40): 37492–502. doi:10.1074/jbc.M201194200. PMID 12147681.
  6. Said EA, Courty J, Svab J, Delbé J, Krust B, Hovanessian AG (Sep 2005). "Pleiotrophin inhibits HIV infection by binding the cell surface-expressed nucleolin". The FEBS Journal. 272 (18): 4646–59. doi:10.1111/j.1742-4658.2005.04870.x. PMID 16156786.
  7. Tayyari F, Marchant D, Moraes TJ, Duan W, Mastrangelo P, Hegele RG (Sep 2011). "Identification of nucleolin as a cellular receptor for human respiratory syncytial virus". Nature Medicine. 17 (9): 1132–5. doi:10.1038/nm.2444. PMID 21841784.
  8. Mastrangelo P, Hegele RG (Nov 2012). "The RSV fusion receptor: not what everyone expected it to be". Microbes and Infection / Institut Pasteur. 14 (13): 1205–10. doi:10.1016/j.micinf.2012.07.015. PMID 22884716.
  9. Mastrangelo P, Hegele RG (Mar 2013). "RSV fusion: time for a new model". Viruses. 5 (3): 873–85. doi:10.3390/v5030873. PMC 3705301. PMID 23518574.
  10. Shakeri A, Mastrangelo P, Griffin JK, Moraes TJ, Hegele RG (Nov 2014). "Respiratory syncytial virus receptor expression in the mouse and viral tropism". Histology and Histopathology. 30: 401–411. doi:10.14670/HH-30.401. PMID 25374027.
  11. Li D, Dobrowolska G, Krebs EG (Jun 1996). "The physical association of casein kinase 2 with nucleolin". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 271 (26): 15662–8. doi:10.1074/jbc.271.26.15662. PMID 8663258.
  12. Dubois T, Zemlickova E, Howell S, Aitken A (Feb 2003). "Centaurin-alpha 1 associates in vitro and in vivo with nucleolin". Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 301 (2): 502–8. doi:10.1016/s0006-291x(02)03010-3. PMID 12565890.
  13. Tominaga K, Srikantan S, Lee EK, Subaran SS, Martindale JL, Abdelmohsen K, Gorospe M (Oct 2011). "Competitive regulation of nucleolin expression by HuR and miR-494". Molecular and Cellular Biology. 31 (20): 4219–31. doi:10.1128/MCB.05955-11. PMC 3187287. PMID 21859890.
  14. Li YP, Busch RK, Valdez BC, Busch H (Apr 1996). "C23 interacts with B23, a putative nucleolar-localization-signal-binding protein". European Journal of Biochemistry / FEBS. 237 (1): 153–8. doi:10.1111/j.1432-1033.1996.0153n.x. PMID 8620867.
  15. Daniely Y, Dimitrova DD, Borowiec JA (Aug 2002). "Stress-dependent nucleolin mobilization mediated by p53-nucleolin complex formation". Molecular and Cellular Biology. 22 (16): 6014–22. doi:10.1128/mcb.22.16.6014-6022.2002. PMC 133981. PMID 12138209.
  16. Morimoto H, Okamura H, Haneji T (Sep 2002). "Interaction of protein phosphatase 1 delta with nucleolin in human osteoblastic cells". The Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry. 50 (9): 1187–93. doi:10.1177/002215540205000905. PMID 12185196.
  17. Sakaguchi M, Miyazaki M, Takaishi M, Sakaguchi Y, Makino E, Kataoka N, Yamada H, Namba M, Huh NH (Nov 2003). "S100C/A11 is a key mediator of Ca(2+)-induced growth inhibition of human epidermal keratinocytes". The Journal of Cell Biology. 163 (4): 825–35. doi:10.1083/jcb.200304017. PMC 2173690. PMID 14623863.
  18. Fouraux MA, Bouvet P, Verkaart S, van Venrooij WJ, Pruijn GJ (Jul 2002). "Nucleolin associates with a subset of the human Ro ribonucleoprotein complexes". Journal of Molecular Biology. 320 (3): 475–88. doi:10.1016/s0022-2836(02)00518-1. PMID 12096904.
  19. Haluska P, Saleem A, Edwards TK, Rubin EH (Apr 1998). "Interaction between the N-terminus of human topoisomerase I and SV40 large T antigen". Nucleic Acids Research. 26 (7): 1841–7. doi:10.1093/nar/26.7.1841. PMC 147454. PMID 9512561.
  20. Bharti AK, Olson MO, Kufe DW, Rubin EH (Jan 1996). "Identification of a nucleolin binding site in human topoisomerase I". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 271 (4): 1993–7. doi:10.1074/jbc.271.4.1993. PMID 8567649.
  21. Khurts S, Masutomi K, Delgermaa L, Arai K, Oishi N, Mizuno H, Hayashi N, Hahn WC, Murakami S (Dec 2004). "Nucleolin interacts with telomerase". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 279 (49): 51508–15. doi:10.1074/jbc.M407643200. PMID 15371412.

Further reading