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RNA

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 15  |  Issue: 7  |  Page No.: 1274 - 1281

Dicer independent small RNAs associate with telomeric heterochromatin

F Cao, X Li, S Hiew, H Brady, Y Liu and Y. Dou

Abstract

Small RNAs play important roles in the establishment and maintenance of heterochromatin structures. We show the presence of telomere specific small RNAs (tel-sRNAs) in mouse embryonic stem cells that are ~24 nucleotides in length, Dicer-independent, and 2'-O-methylated at the 3' terminus. The tel-sRNAs are asymmetric with specificity toward telomere G-rich strand, and evolutionarily conserved from protozoan to mammalian cells. Furthermore, tel-sRNAs are up-regulated in cells that carry null mutation of H3K4 methyltransferase MLL (Mll(–/–)) and down-regulated in cells that carry null mutations of histone H3K9 methyltransferase SUV39H (Suv39h1/h2(–/–)), suggesting that they are subject to epigenetic regulation. These results support that tel-sRNAs are heterochromatin associated pi-like small RNAs.

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