Intergenic transcription by RNA polymerase II coordinates Pol IV and Pol V in siRNA-directed transcriptional gene silencing in Arabidopsis

Binglian Zheng, Zhengming Wang, Shengben Li, Bin Yu, Jin Yuan Liu, Xuemei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

184 Scopus citations

Abstract

Intergenic transcription by RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) is widespread in plant and animal genomes, but the functions of intergenic transcription or the resulting noncoding transcripts are poorly understood. Here, we show that Arabidopsis Pol II is indispensable for endogenous siRNA-mediated transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) at intergenic low-copy-number loci, despite the presence of two other polymerases - Pol IV and Pol V - that specialize in TGS through siRNAs. We show that Pol II produces noncoding scaffold transcripts that originate outside of heterochromatic, siRNA-generating loci. Through these transcripts and physical interactions with the siRNA effector protein ARGONAUTE4 (AGO4), Pol II recruits AGO4/siRNAs to homologous loci to result in TGS. Meanwhile, Pol II transcription also recruits Pol IV and Pol V to different locations at heterochromatic loci to promote siRNA biogenesis and siRNA-mediated TGS, respectively. This study establishes that intergenic transcription by Pol II is required for siRNA-mediated TGS, and reveals an intricate collaboration and division of labor among the three polymerases in gene silencing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2850-2860
Number of pages11
JournalGenes and Development
Volume23
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2009

Keywords

  • DNA methylation
  • Noncoding transcripts
  • RNA polymerase
  • SiRNA
  • Transcriptional gene silencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology

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