The PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway is a small RNA-based immune system that controls the expression of transposons and maintains genome integrity in animal gonads. In Drosophila, piRNA-guided silencing is achieved, in part, via co-transcriptional repression of transposons by Piwi. This depends on Panoramix (Panx); however, precisely how an RNA binding event silences transcription remains to be determined. Here we show that Nuclear Export Factor 2 (Nxf2) and its co-factor, Nxt1, form a complex with Panx and are required for co-transcriptional silencing of transposons in somatic and germline cells of the ovary. Tethering of Nxf2 or Nxt1 to RNA results in silencing of target loci and the concomitant accumulation of repressive chromatin marks. Nxf2 and Panx proteins are mutually required for proper localization and stability. We mapped the protein domains crucial for the Nxf2/Panx complex formation and show that the amino-terminal portion of Panx is sufficient to induce transcriptional silencing.
Sequencing data reported in this paper has been deposited in GEO under accession number GSE121661. Mass Spectrometry data has been deposited to the PRIDE Archive (accession number PXD011415)
piRNA-guided co-transcriptional silencing coopts nuclear export factorsNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE121661.
piRNA-guided co-transcriptional silencing coopts nuclear export factorsPRIDE Archive, PXD011415.
- Gregory J Hannon
- Gregory J Hannon
- Filippo Ciabrelli
- Marzia Munafò
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Torben Heick Jensen, Aarhus University, Denmark
© 2019, Fabry 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.
Cohesin folds chromosomes via DNA loop extrusion. Cohesin-mediated chromosome loops regulate transcription by shaping long-range enhancer-promoter interactions, among other mechanisms. Mutations of cohesin subunits and regulators cause human developmental diseases termed cohesinopathy. Vertebrate cohesin consists of SMC1, SMC3, RAD21, and either STAG1 or STAG2. To probe the physiological functions of cohesin, we created conditional knockout (cKO) mice with Stag2 deleted in the nervous system. Stag2 cKO mice exhibit growth retardation, neurological defects, and premature death, in part due to insufficient myelination of nerve fibers. Stag2 cKO oligodendrocytes exhibit delayed maturation and downregulation of myelination-related genes. Stag2 loss reduces promoter-anchored loops at downregulated genes in oligodendrocytes. Thus, STAG2-cohesin generates promoter-anchored loops at myelination-promoting genes to facilitate their transcription. Our study implicates defective myelination as a contributing factor to cohesinopathy and establishes oligodendrocytes as a relevant cell type to explore the mechanisms by which cohesin regulates transcription.
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