Localization of rRNA transcribed spacer domains in the nucleolinus and maternal procentrosomes of surf clam(Spisula)oocytes

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The nucleolinus is a nuclear subcompartment long ago posited to play a role in cell division. In a recent study using surf clam oocytes, cytoplasmic foci containing a nucleolinar protein were shown to later recruit γ-tubulin, identifying them as centrosomal precursors.1 We now demonstrate the presence of structural RNAs from the nucleolinus in these procentrosomes. They include the well-known but poorly understood rRNA-transcribed spacer regions. In situ hybridization revealed a specific and dynamic association of these structural RNAs with the cell division apparatus that extends through the early stages of meiosis. In addition to their bearing on the debate over the nature of centrosomeand spindle-associated RNAs, the observations also suggest that rRNA spacer regions are not simply waste products to be discarded immediately, but may be functional byproducts that play a role in formation of the cell division apparatus.

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