Infographic: Paraspeckle Form and Function
Infographic: Paraspeckle Form and Function

Infographic: Paraspeckle Form and Function

What do scientists know about this membraneless nuclear body discovered less than two decades ago?

Archa Fox
Dec 1, 2019


These tiny subnuclear bodies typically measure 360 nanometers in diameter. They are composed of a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) molecule called NEAT1, which serves as the seed. Proteins that bind to NEAT1 accumulate, self-associate, and recruit other proteins, forming a mature paraspeckle.

Peg gerrity

When a cell is stressed, various triggers can cause it to increase the production of the lncRNA NEAT1, leading to the formation of more paraspeckles. These bodies can grow to up to 2 micrometers in length, changing from a spherical shape to oblong and sometimes branched structures. They trap various proteins and mRNAs, hindering their function and thereby affecting the cell’s continued response to stress.

1 As they accumulate proteins and RNAs, paraspeckles can become linked together,  growing bigger, oblong, and sometimes branched.
2 Greater abundance of NEAT1 leads to more paraspeckles.
3 Specific messenger RNAs become trapped in paraspeckles and cannot reach the cytoplasm for translation.
4 Paraspeckles act as a sponge, soaking up the proteins from the nucleoplasm.
5Paraspeckles trap gene-regulating proteins, depleting them from target sites on the genome and thereby altering transcription.

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