Plant Science

For rRNAs, it's location, location, location

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Science  22 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6271, pp. 351-352
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6271.351-f

Genes that encode ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), key components of the protein synthesis machinery, are found in many copies in tandem. Epigenetic chromatin modifications silence excess rRNAs, but scientists do not fully understand what regulates such silencing. Studying the plant Arabidopsis, Chandrasekhara et al. mapped individual rRNA genes to their specific chromosomes and found that location matters: Arabidopsis leaves expressed rRNAs located on chromosome 4 but not those on chromosome 2. Relocating rRNA genes on chromosome 2 to chromosome 4 led to their expression. Thus, transcription of rRNA genes may be regulated in one fell swoop by a chromosomal regulatory control center.

Genes Dev. 30, 10.1101/gad.273755.115 (2016).

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