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Nature. 2008 Jul 3;454(7200):126-30. doi: 10.1038/nature06992. Epub 2008 May 28.

Induced ncRNAs allosterically modify RNA-binding proteins in cis to inhibit transcription.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


With the recent recognition of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) flanking many genes, a central issue is to obtain a full understanding of their potential roles in regulated gene transcription programmes, possibly through different mechanisms. Here we show that an RNA-binding protein, TLS (for translocated in liposarcoma), serves as a key transcriptional regulatory sensor of DNA damage signals that, on the basis of its allosteric modulation by RNA, specifically binds to and inhibits CREB-binding protein (CBP) and p300 histone acetyltransferase activities on a repressed gene target, cyclin D1 (CCND1) in human cell lines. Recruitment of TLS to the CCND1 promoter to cause gene-specific repression is directed by single-stranded, low-copy-number ncRNA transcripts tethered to the 5' regulatory regions of CCND1 that are induced in response to DNA damage signals. Our data suggest that signal-induced ncRNAs localized to regulatory regions of transcription units can act cooperatively as selective ligands, recruiting and modulating the activities of distinct classes of RNA-binding co-regulators in response to specific signals, providing an unexpected ncRNA/RNA-binding protein-based strategy to integrate transcriptional programmes.

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