Non-Coding RNA and Chromatin Remodeling: Epigenetic Control of Transcription
Conference Recording May 15, 2013
About the Speaker
Ingrid Grummt is Division Head at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. Her research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that regulate transcription. She has received numerous awards, including the Science Prize of the Fritz-Winter-Foundation, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Prize and the 2010 EMBO/FE BS Women in Science Award
Non-coding RNAs have emerged as the most actively researched molecules in modern life science. RNAs flanking the promoter of genes in sense and antisense orientation have been shown to activate or repress transcription by inducing changes in chromatin structure. I will survey ncRNA-based mechanisms that control the epigenetic state and transcriptional activity of rRNA genes. Data will be presented showing that ‘promoter-associated RNA’ in sense orientation plays a role in targeting DNA methyltransferase DNMT3b to regulatory gene sequences, whereas transcripts in antisense orientation (asRNA) specifically interact with the histone methyltransferase Suv4-20h2 and mediate trimethylation of H4K20 and chromatin compaction. The level of asRNA is increased and enhancement of H4K20me3 is upregulated in quiescent cells thus creating a chromatin environment that impairs transcription. The results link growth-dependent transcriptional regulation to H4K20 trimethylation, suggesting a compelling mechanism of gene regulation that changes chromatin structure in response to external challenges.