The nucleolus is the site of ribosome biogenesis, a complex process that requires the coordinate activity of all three RNA polymerases and hundreds of non-ribosomal factors that participate in the maturation of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and assembly of small and large subunits. Nevertheless, emerging studies have highlighted the fundamental role of the nucleolus in sensing a variety of cellular stress stimuli that target ribosome biogenesis. This condition is known as nucleolar stress and triggers several response pathways to maintain cell homeostasis, either p53-dependent or p53-independent. The mouse double minute (MDM2)-p53 stress signaling pathways are activated by multiple signals and are among the most important regulators of cellular homeostasis. In this review, we will focus on the role of ribosomal proteins in p53-dependent and p53-independent response to nucleolar stress considering novel identified regulators of these pathways. We describe, in particular, the role of ribosomal protein uL3 (rpL3) in p53-independent nucleolar stress signaling pathways.
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