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Nat Rev Genet. 2015 Feb;16(2):71-84. doi: 10.1038/nrg3863. Epub 2015 Jan 2.

RNA-mediated epigenetic regulation of gene expression.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Abstract

Diverse classes of RNA, ranging from small to long non-coding RNAs, have emerged as key regulators of gene expression, genome stability and defence against foreign genetic elements. Small RNAs modify chromatin structure and silence transcription by guiding Argonaute-containing complexes to complementary nascent RNA scaffolds and then mediating the recruitment of histone and DNA methyltransferases. In addition, recent advances suggest that chromatin-associated long non-coding RNA scaffolds also recruit chromatin-modifying complexes independently of small RNAs. These co-transcriptional silencing mechanisms form powerful RNA surveillance systems that detect and silence inappropriate transcription events, and provide a memory of these events via self-reinforcing epigenetic loops.

PMID:
25554358
PMCID:
PMC4376354
DOI:
10.1038/nrg3863
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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