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Mol Cell. 2016 Jun 2;62(5):657-64. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2016.05.011.

"Cat's Cradling" the 3D Genome by the Act of LncRNA Transcription.

Author information

1
Harvard Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology Department, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, MA 02138, USA.
2
Harvard Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology Department, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, MA 02138, USA; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA. Electronic address: john_rinn@harvard.edu.

Abstract

There is growing evidence that transcription and nuclear organization are tightly linked. Yet, whether transcription of thousands of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) could play a role in this packaging process remains elusive. Although some lncRNAs have been found to have clear roles in nuclear architecture (e.g., FIRRE, NEAT1, XIST, and others), the vast majority remain poorly understood. In this Perspective, we highlight how the act of transcription can affect nuclear architecture. We synthesize several recent findings into a proposed model where the transcription of lncRNAs can serve as guide-posts for shaping genome organization. This model is similar to the game "cat's cradle," where the shape of a string is successively changed by opening up new sites for finger placement. Analogously, transcription of lncRNAs could serve as "grip holds" for nuclear proteins to pull the genome into new positions. This model could explain general lncRNA properties such as low abundance and tissue specificity. Overall, we propose a general framework for how the act of lncRNA transcription could play a role in organizing the 3D genome.

PMID:
27259198
DOI:
10.1016/j.molcel.2016.05.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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