In contrast to total cell irradiation, local UV-microbeam irradiation can stimulate a significant diminution in the irradiated mature nucleoli in interphase mammalian cells in culture. This diminution is accompanied by the concomitant expansion of the unirradiated nucleoli within the same nucleus, and the total nucleolar volume per nucleus does not change appreciably. It is suggested that these nucleolar volume changes are the result of the dispersion, migration, and redistribution of the nucleolar material between competitive nucleolar organizer regions of the interphase nucleus.

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