Human Guanine nucleotide binding protein like 1 (GNL1) belongs to HSR1_MMR1 subfamily of nucleolar GTPases. Here, we report for the first time that GNL1 promotes cell cycle and proliferation by inducing hyperphosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein. Using yeast two-hybrid screening, Ribosomal protein S20 (RPS20) was identified as a functional interacting partner of GNL1. Results from GST pull-down and co-immunoprecipitation assays confirmed that interaction between GNL1 and RPS20 was specific. Further, GNL1 induced cell proliferation was altered upon knockdown of RPS20 suggesting its critical role in GNL1 function. Interestingly, cell proliferation was significantly impaired upon expression of RPS20 interaction deficient GNL1 mutant suggest that GNL1 interaction with RPS20 is critical for cell growth. Finally, the inverse correlation of GNL1 and RPS20 expression in primary colon and gastric cancers with patient survival strengthen their critical importance during tumorigenesis. Collectively, our data provided evidence that cross-talk between GNL1 and RPS20 is critical to promote cell proliferation. © 2018, The Author(s).