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.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)
Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)
Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are often associated with polysomes, indicating coding potential. However, only a handful of endogenous proteins encoded by putative lncRNAs have been identified and assigned a function. Here, we report the discovery of a putative gastrointestinal tract-specific lncRNA (LINC00675) that is regulated by the pioneer transcription factor FOXA1 and encodes a conserved small protein of 79 amino acids which we termed FORCP (FOXA1-Regulated Conserved Small Protein). FORCP transcript is undetectable in most cell types but is abundant in well-differentiated colorectal cancer (CRC) cells where it functions to inhibit proliferation, clonogenicity and tumorigenesis. The epitope-tagged and endogenous FORCP protein predominantly localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In response to ER stress, FORCP depletion results in decreased apoptosis. Our findings on the initial characterization of FORCP demonstrate that FORCP is a novel, conserved small protein encoded by a mis-annotated lncRNA that regulates apoptosis and tumorigenicity in well-differentiated CRC cells.
Cell cycle is a cellular process that is subject to stringent control. In contrast to the wealth of knowledge of proteins controlling the cell cycle, very little is known about the molecular role of lncRNAs (long noncoding RNAs) in cell-cycle progression. By performing genome-wide transcriptome analyses in cell-cycle-synchronized cells, we observed cell-cycle phase-specific induction of >2000 lncRNAs. Further, we demonstrate that an S-phase-upregulated lncRNA, SUNO1, facilitates cell-cycle progression by promoting YAP1-mediated gene expression. SUNO1 facilitates the cell-cycle-specific transcription of WTIP, a positive regulator of YAP1, by promoting the co-activator, DDX5-mediated stabilization of RNA polymerase II on chromatin. Finally, elevated SUNO1 levels are associated with poor cancer prognosis and tumorigenicity, implying its pro-survival role. Thus, we demonstrate the role of a S-phase up-regulated lncRNA in cell-cycle progression via modulating the expression of genes controlling cell proliferation.