Nucleoli are emerging as key sensors of cellular stress and regulators of the downstream consequences on proliferation, metabolism, senescence, and apoptosis. NF-κB signalling is activated in response to a similar plethora of stresses, which leads to modulation of cell growth and death programs. While nucleolar and NF-κB pathways are distinct, it is increasingly apparent that they converge at multiple levels. Exposure of cells to certain insults causes a specific type of nucleolar stress that is characterised by degradation of the PolI complex component, TIF-IA, and increased nucleolar size. Recent studies have shown that this atypical nucleolar stress lies upstream of cytosolic IκB degradation and NF-κB nuclear translocation. Under these stress conditions, the RelA component of NF-κB accumulates within functionally altered nucleoli to trigger a nucleophosmin dependent, apoptotic pathway. In this review, we will discuss these points of crosstalk and their relevance to anti-tumour mechanism of aspirin and small molecule CDK4 inhibitors. We will also briefly the discuss how crosstalk between nucleoli and NF-κB signalling may be more broadly relevant to the regulation of cellular homeostasis and how it may be exploited for therapeutic purpose.
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