A Functional Link between Nuclear RNA Decay and Transcriptional Control Mediated by the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2

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Pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) constitute an essential cellular niche sustained by epigenomic and transcriptional regulation. Any role of post-transcriptional processes remains less explored. Here, we identify a link between nuclear RNA levels, regulated by the poly(A) RNA exosome targeting (PAXT) connection, and transcriptional control by the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2). Knockout of the PAXT component ZFC3H1 impairs mouse ESC differentiation. In addition to the upregulation of bona fide PAXT substrates, Zfc3h1-/- cells abnormally express developmental genes usually repressed by PRC2. Such de-repression is paralleled by decreased PRC2 binding to chromatin and low PRC2-directed H3K27 methylation. PRC2 complex stability is compromised in Zfc3h1-/- cells with elevated levels of unspecific RNA bound to PRC2 components. We propose that excess RNA hampers PRC2 function through its sequestration from DNA. Our results highlight the importance of balancing nuclear RNA levels and demonstrate the capacity of bulk RNA to regulate chromatin-associated proteins.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCell Reports
Volume29
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1800-1811
Number of pages12
ISSN2211-1247
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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