The RNA component of the ribosome, ribosomal RNA (rRNA), is synthesized and modified in the nucleolus, where the assembly of rRNA and ribosomal proteins into ribosomes also occurs. In addition, the nucleolus is involved in other cellular functions such as regulation of the cell cycle, cell proliferation, and sensing of cellular stress. Also pathological conditions such as cancer and viral infections have been linked to the nucleolus. Since the nucleolus is not membrane-bound, molecules are able to enter and exit it freely. The nucleoli are by nature dynamic, and their number and size vary based on the state of the cell. Cancer cells often display enlarged nucleoli, this resulting from an increased need for protein synthesis, which in turn requires efficient production of ribosomes. This seems, however, to be only part of the truth, as the nucleolus has been held to be implicated in the development of cancer.
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