Research Article

Noncoding RNAs of Trithorax Response Elements Recruit Drosophila Ash1 to Ultrabithorax

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Science  24 Feb 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5764, pp. 1118-1123
DOI: 10.1126/science.1117705

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Abstract

Homeotic genes contain cis-regulatory trithorax response elements (TREs) that are targeted by epigenetic activators and transcribed in a tissue-specific manner. We show that the transcripts of three TREs located in the Drosophila homeotic gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx) mediate transcription activation by recruiting the epigenetic regulator Ash1 to the template TREs. TRE transcription coincides with Ubx transcription and recruitment of Ash1 to TREs in Drosophila. The SET domain of Ash1 binds all three TRE transcripts, with each TRE transcript hybridizing with and recruiting Ash1 only to the corresponding TRE in chromatin. Transgenic transcription of TRE transcripts restores recruitment of Ash1 to Ubx TREs and restores Ubx expression in Drosophila cells and tissues that lack endogenous TRE transcripts. Small interfering RNA–induced degradation of TRE transcripts attenuates Ash1 recruitment to TREs and Ubx expression, which suggests that noncoding TRE transcripts play an important role in epigenetic activation of gene expression.

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