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Several nucleolar proteins, such as nucleolin, NOP1/fibrillarin, SSB1, NSR1 and GAR1 share a common glycine and arginine rich structural motif called the GAR domain. To identify novel nucleolar proteins from fission yeast we screened Schizosaccharomyces pombe genomic DNA libraries with a probe encompassing the GAR structural motif. Here we report the identification and characterization of a S.pombe gene coding for a novel nucleolar protein, designated gar2. The structure of the fission yeast gar2 is reminiscent of that of nucleolin from vertebrates and NSR1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In addition, like these proteins, gar2 has a nucleolar localisation. The disruption of the gar2+ gene affects normal cell growth, leads to an accumulation of 35S pre-rRNA and a decrease of mature 18S rRNA steady state levels. Moreover, ribosomal profiles of the mutant show an increase of free 60S ribosomal subunits and an absence of free 40S ribosomal subunits. gar2 is able to rescue a S.cerevisiae mutant lacking NSR1, thus establishing gar2 as a functional homolog of NSR1. We propose that gar2 helps the assembly of pre-ribosomal particles containing 18S rRNA.