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Formation of nuclear heterochromatin: the nucleolar point of view


Guetg, Claudio; Santoro, Raffaella (2012). Formation of nuclear heterochromatin: the nucleolar point of view. Epigenetics, 7(8):811-814.

Abstract

Establishment and inheritance of heterochromatic states is critical in maintaining genome integrity and gene expression state. The elucidation of the mechanisms implicated in these processes is fundamental to understand the control of epigenetic regulation of the genome. Recently, the nucleolus emerged as an important component of the nuclear architecture. Although the nucleolus is the most active site of cellular transcription, it is also an attractive compartment for nuclear heterochromatic regions, such as pericentric repeats, inactive X chromosome and regions with low gene density significantly enriched in repressed genes. The coexistence of euchromatic and heterochromatic rRNA genes in each cell reflects these two opposite functions of the nucleolus. An epigenetic network that is controlled by NoRC complex establishes and maintains rDNA heterochromatin. It is here discussed how heterochromatic rRNA genes and the associated epigenetic regulatory activities might mediate formation and inheritance of nuclear heterochromatic regions. Finally, we propose that the analysis of the components of heterochromatic rRNA genes will be not only relevant to understand the general composition of heterochromatin but has the potential to provide important and novel insights of how nuclear heterochromatic structures are established and inherited.

Abstract

Establishment and inheritance of heterochromatic states is critical in maintaining genome integrity and gene expression state. The elucidation of the mechanisms implicated in these processes is fundamental to understand the control of epigenetic regulation of the genome. Recently, the nucleolus emerged as an important component of the nuclear architecture. Although the nucleolus is the most active site of cellular transcription, it is also an attractive compartment for nuclear heterochromatic regions, such as pericentric repeats, inactive X chromosome and regions with low gene density significantly enriched in repressed genes. The coexistence of euchromatic and heterochromatic rRNA genes in each cell reflects these two opposite functions of the nucleolus. An epigenetic network that is controlled by NoRC complex establishes and maintains rDNA heterochromatin. It is here discussed how heterochromatic rRNA genes and the associated epigenetic regulatory activities might mediate formation and inheritance of nuclear heterochromatic regions. Finally, we propose that the analysis of the components of heterochromatic rRNA genes will be not only relevant to understand the general composition of heterochromatin but has the potential to provide important and novel insights of how nuclear heterochromatic structures are established and inherited.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Department of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:28 Feb 2013 16:13
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 20:13
Publisher:Landes Bioscience
ISSN:1559-2294
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4161/epi.21072
PubMed ID:22735386

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