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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2010 Apr;20(2):134-41. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2010.02.003. Epub 2010 Mar 6.

RNAi-dependent formation of heterochromatin and its diverse functions.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. grewals@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

Expression profiling of eukaryotic genomes has revealed widespread transcription outside the confines of protein-coding genes, leading to production of antisense and non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Studies in Schizosaccharomyces pombe and multicellular organisms suggest that transcription and ncRNAs provide a framework for the assembly of heterochromatin, which has been linked to various chromosomal processes. In addition to gene regulation, heterochromatin is crucial for centromere function, cell fate determination as well as transcriptional and posttranscriptional silencing of repetitive DNA elements. Recently, heterochromatin factors have been shown to suppress antisense RNAs at euchromatic loci. These findings define conserved pathways that probably have major impact on the epigenetic regulation of eukaryotic genomes.

PMID:
20207534
PMCID:
PMC3005588
DOI:
10.1016/j.gde.2010.02.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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