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Science. 2005 Jul 15;309(5733):467-9. Epub 2005 Jun 9.

RNA polymerase II is required for RNAi-dependent heterochromatin assembly.

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  • 1Department of Viral Oncology, Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


In Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the RNA interference (RNAi) machinery converts pericentromeric transcripts into small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and is required for the assembly of pericentromeric heterochromatin. Here we describe a mutation in the second largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII). Both wild-type and mutant RNAPII localized to the pericentromere. However, the mutation resulted in the loss of heterochromatic histone modifications and in the accumulation of pericentromeric transcripts, accompanied by the loss of siRNAs. This phenotype resembles mutants in RNAi and suggests that RNAPII couples pericentromeric transcription with siRNA processing and heterochromatin assembly.

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