Report

RNA Polymerase II Is Required for RNAi-Dependent Heterochromatin Assembly

Science  15 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5733, pp. 467-469
DOI: 10.1126/science.1114955

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Abstract

In Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the RNA interference (RNAi) machinery converts pericentromeric transcripts into small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and is required for the assembly of pericentromeric heterochromatin. Here we describe a mutation in the second largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII). Both wild-type and mutant RNAPII localized to the pericentromere. However, the mutation resulted in the loss of heterochromatic histone modifications and in the accumulation of pericentromeric transcripts, accompanied by the loss of siRNAs. This phenotype resembles mutants in RNAi and suggests that RNAPII couples pericentromeric transcription with siRNA processing and heterochromatin assembly.

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