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Cell Rep. 2017 Mar 7;18(10):2494-2507. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.02.024.

Negative Regulators of an RNAi-Heterochromatin Positive Feedback Loop Safeguard Somatic Genome Integrity in Tetrahymena.

Author information

1
Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1030 Vienna, Austria.
2
Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1030 Vienna, Austria; Institute of Human Genetics, CNRS-University of Montpellier UMR9002, 34396 Montpellier, France.
3
Pathology Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
4
Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1030 Vienna, Austria; Institute of Human Genetics, CNRS-University of Montpellier UMR9002, 34396 Montpellier, France. Electronic address: kazufumi.mochizuki@igh.cnrs.fr.

Abstract

RNAi-mediated positive feedback loops are pivotal for the maintenance of heterochromatin, but how they are downregulated at heterochromatin-euchromatin borders is not well understood. In the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena, heterochromatin is formed exclusively on the sequences that are removed from the somatic genome by programmed DNA elimination, and an RNAi-mediated feedback loop is important for assembling heterochromatin on the eliminated sequences. In this study, we show that the heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1)-like protein Coi6p, its interaction partners Coi7p and Lia5p, and the histone demethylase Jmj1p are crucial for confining the production of small RNAs and the formation of heterochromatin to the eliminated sequences. The loss of Coi6p, Coi7p, or Jmj1p causes ectopic DNA elimination. The results provide direct evidence for the existence of a dedicated mechanism that counteracts a positive feedback loop between RNAi and heterochromatin at heterochromatin-euchromatin borders to maintain the integrity of the somatic genome.

KEYWORDS:

DNA elimination; Heterochromatin; RNAi; Tetrahymena; genome rearrangement; small RNAs

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