Protein clustering is a hallmark of genome regulation in mammalian cells. However, the dynamic molecular processes involved make it difficult to correlate clustering with functional consequences in vivo. We developed a live-cell super-resolution approach to uncover the correlation between mRNA synthesis and the dynamics of RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) clusters at a gene locus. For endogenous β-actin genes in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, we observe that short-lived (~8 s) Pol II clusters correlate with basal mRNA output. During serum stimulation, a stereotyped increase in Pol II cluster lifetime correlates with a proportionate increase in the number of mRNAs synthesized. Our findings suggest that transient clustering of Pol II may constitute a pre-transcriptional regulatory event that predictably modulates nascent mRNA output.
- Xiaowei Zhuang, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard University, United States
© 2016, Cho et al.
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Maternal pre-pregnancy (pregravid) obesity is associated with adverse outcomes for both mother and offspring. Amongst the complications for the offspring is increased susceptibility and severity of neonatal infections necessitating admission to the intensive care unit, notably bacterial sepsis and enterocolitis. Previous studies have reported aberrant responses to LPS and polyclonal stimulation by umbilical cord blood monocytes that were mediated by alterations in the epigenome. In this study, we show that pregravid obesity dysregulates umbilical cord blood monocyte responses to bacterial and viral pathogens. Specifically, interferon-stimulated gene expression and inflammatory responses to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and E. coli were significantly dampened, respectively . Although upstream signaling events were comparable, translocation of the key transcription factor NF-κB and chromatin accessibility at pro-inflammatory gene promoters following TLR stimulation was significantly attenuated. Using a rhesus macaque model of western style diet-induced obesity, we further demonstrate that this defect is detected in fetal peripheral monocytes and tissue-resident macrophages during gestation. Collectively, these data indicate that maternal obesity alters metabolic, signaling, and epigenetic profiles of fetal monocytes leading to a state of immune paralysis during late gestation and at birth.
To synchronize flowering time with spring, many plants undergo vernalization, a floral-promotion process triggered by exposure to long-term winter cold. In Arabidopsis thaliana, this is achieved through cold-mediated epigenetic silencing of the floral repressor, FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). COOLAIR, a cold-induced antisense RNA transcribed from the FLC locus, has been proposed to facilitate FLC silencing. Here, we show that C-repeat (CRT)/dehydration-responsive elements (DREs) at the 3′-end of FLC and CRT/DRE-binding factors (CBFs) are required for cold-mediated expression of COOLAIR. CBFs bind to CRT/DREs at the 3′-end of FLC, both in vitro and in vivo, and CBF levels increase gradually during vernalization. Cold-induced COOLAIR expression is severely impaired in cbfs mutants in which all CBF genes are knocked-out. Conversely, CBF-overexpressing plants show increased COOLAIR levels even at warm temperatures. We show that COOLAIR is induced by CBFs during early stages of vernalization but COOLAIR levels decrease in later phases as FLC chromatin transitions to an inactive state to which CBFs can no longer bind. We also demonstrate that cbfs and FLCΔCOOLAIR mutants exhibit a normal vernalization response despite their inability to activate COOLAIR expression during cold, revealing that COOLAIR is not required for the vernalization process.