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Nucleolin is an abundant protein of the nucleolus. Nucleolar proteins structurally related to nucleolin are found in organisms ranging from yeast to plants and mammals. The association of several structural domains in nucleolin allows the interaction of nucleolin with different proteins and RNA sequences. Nucleolin has been implicated in chromatin structure, rDNA transcription, rRNA maturation, ribosome assembly and nucleo-cytoplasmic transport. Studies of nucleolin over the last 25 years have revealed a fascinating role for nucleolin in ribosome biogenesis. The involvement of nucleolin at multiple steps of this biosynthetic pathway suggests that it could play a key role in this highly integrated process.