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Trends Genet. 2012 Sep;28(9):445-53. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.06.002. Epub 2012 Jul 10.

Flowering time control: another window to the connection between antisense RNA and chromatin.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.


A high proportion of all eukaryotic genes express antisense RNA (asRNA), which accumulates to varying degrees at different loci. Whether there is a general function for asRNA is unknown, but its widespread occurrence and frequent regulation by stress suggest an important role. The best-characterized plant gene exhibiting a complex antisense transcript pattern is the Arabidopsis floral regulator FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). Changes occur in the accumulation, splicing, and polyadenylation of this antisense transcript, termed COOLAIR, in different environments and genotypes. These changes are associated with altered chromatin regulation and differential FLC expression, provoking mechanistic comparisons with many well-studied loci in yeast and mammals. Detailed analysis of these specific examples may shed light on the complex interplay between asRNA and chromatin modifications in different genomes.

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