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The Cell Nucleus: Biogenesis, Structure, and Function

Epigenetic Regulation and Epigenomics

  1. Dean A. Jackson

Published Online: 10 OCT 2011

DOI: 10.1002/3527600906.mcb.200300097.pub2

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

How to Cite

Jackson, D. A. 2011. The Cell Nucleus: Biogenesis, Structure, and Function. Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine. .

Author Information

  1. University of Manchester, Faculty of Life Sciences, Manchester, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 10 OCT 2011


The nucleus is a cellular organelle that is found in eukaryotes, but not in prokaryotes. The nucleus contains the genetic information that defines the appearance and behavior of all eukaryotic organisms. The genetic material–DNA–is packaged as a DNA–protein complex, known as chromatin, into units of manageable size, termed chromosomes. In multicellular eukaryotes, the different types of cell are defined by the different genes that they express. These different patterns of gene expression arise as the cells become committed to perform specific roles during the process of cell differentiation. The latter process is controlled by the position of the individual cells within the organism during development. Gene expression is regulated at many levels in each cell; the major regulatory step occurs during transcription, when the gene is copied by the process of transcription into messenger RNAs (mRNAs). The latter then transfer genetic information to the cytoplasm, and provide the template for protein synthesis during translation. Higher eukaryotes contain very large numbers of cells that are derived from a single precursor—a fertilized egg. The genetic material of this cell is derived from the egg of the female parent, and the sperm of the male parent. When undergoing development, cells must perform many cycles of DNA duplication and cell proliferation, during which the genetic information must be faithfully copied by DNA replication and any damage corrected by DNA repair. In this way, the same genetic information is passed to all cells of the organism. These fundamental biological processes are described in this chapter, and an explanation is provided as to how they are regulated within the nucleus of a eukaryotic cell.


  • Chromosome;
  • Nuclear architecture;
  • Nuclear matrix;
  • Gene expression;
  • DNA replication;
  • DNA repair;
  • Cell cycle