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Cell. 2008 May 16;133(4):577-80. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.04.026.

A metabolic throttle regulates the epigenetic state of rDNA.

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Department of Molecular Biology of the Cell II, German Cancer Research Center, DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance, Im Neuenheimer Feld 581, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


The synthesis of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is carefully tuned to match nutritional conditions. In this issue, Murayama et al. (2008) describe a mechanism that couples the energy status of the cell to heterochromatin formation and silencing of rRNA genes. They show that an altered NAD(+)/NADH ratio in response to glucose starvation regulates the silencing activity of eNoSC, a complex consisting of the NAD(+)-dependent histone deacetylase SIRT1, the histone methyltransferase SUV39H1, and a new protein called nucleomethylin (NML). These results suggest a mechanism that links cell physiology to rDNA silencing, which in turn is a prerequisite for nucleolar integrity and cell survival.

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