Noncoding transcripts in sense and antisense orientation regulate the epigenetic state of ribosomal RNA genes

H. Bierhoff, K. Schmitz, F. Maass, J. Ye, I. Grummt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Alternative transcription of the same gene in sense and antisense orientation regulates expression of protein-coding genes. Here we show that noncoding RNA (ncRNA) in sense and antisense orientation also controls transcription of rRNA genes (rDNA). rDNA exists in two types of chromatin-a euchromatic conformation that is permissive to transcription and a heterochromatic conformation that is transcriptionally silent. Silencing of rDNA is mediated by NoRC, a chromatin-remodeling complex that triggers heterochromatin formation. NoRC function requires RNA that is complementary to the rDNA promoter (pRNA). pRNA forms a DNA:RNA triplex with a regulatory element in the rDNA promoter, and this triplex structure is recognized by DNMT3b. The results imply that triplex-mediated targeting of DNMT3b to specific sequences may be a common pathway in epigenetic regulation. We also show that rDNA is transcribed in antisense orientation. The level of antisense RNA (asRNA) is down-regulated in cancer cells and up-regulated in senescent cells. Ectopic asRNA triggers trimethylation of histone H4 at lysine 20 (H4K20me3), suggesting that antisense transcripts guide the histone methyltransferase Suv4-20 to rDNA. The results reveal that noncoding RNAs in sense and antisense orientation are important determinants of the epigenetic state of rDNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-364
Number of pages8
JournalCold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology
Volume75
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

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Ribosomal RNA
Ribosomal DNA
rRNA Genes
Epigenomics
Genes
Transcription
Antisense RNA
Untranslated RNA
Chromatin
Conformations
RNA
Complementary RNA
Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
Heterochromatin
Histones
Lysine
Cells
DNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Noncoding transcripts in sense and antisense orientation regulate the epigenetic state of ribosomal RNA genes. / Bierhoff, H.; Schmitz, K.; Maass, F.; Ye, J.; Grummt, I.

In: Cold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology, Vol. 75, 01.12.2010, p. 357-364.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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