Shaping the chromatin landscape at rRNA and tRNA genes, an emerging new role for RNA polymerase II transcription?

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Eukaryotic genes must be condensed into chromatin while remaining accessible to the transcriptional machinery to support gene expression. Among the three eukaryotic RNA polymerases (RNAP), RNAPII is unique, partly because of the C-terminal domain (CTD) of its largest subunit, Rpb1. Rpb1 CTD can be extensively modified during the transcription cycle, allowing for the co-transcriptional recruitment of specific interacting proteins. These include chromatin remodeling factors that control the opening or closing of chromatin. How the CTD-less RNAPI and RNAPIII deal with chromatin at rRNA and tRNA genes is less understood. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of how the chromatin at tRNA genes and rRNA genes can be remodeled in response to environmental cues in yeast, with a particular focus on the role of local RNAPII transcription in recruiting chromatin remodelers at these loci. In fission yeast, RNAPII transcription at tRNA genes is important to re-establish a chromatin environment permissive to tRNA transcription, which supports growth from stationary phase. In contrast, local RNAPII transcription at rRNA genes correlates with the closing of the chromatin in starvation in budding and fission yeast, suggesting a role in establishing silent chromatin. These opposite roles might support a general model where RNAPII transcription recruits chromatin remodelers to tRNA and rRNA genes to promote the closing and reopening of chromatin in response to the environment.

langue originaleAnglais
Numéro d'article10.1002/yea.3921
Pages (de - à)135-147
Nombre de pages13
Numéro de publication4
Les DOIs
Etat de la publicationPublié - 21 déc. 2023

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