Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Aurora B answers an XIST-ential question

25.08.2009
Mitotic release of chromatin-binding RNA gives insight into X chromosome silencing

Early in development, mammalian female cells counteract their double dose of X chromosomes by coating one of them with a large RNA named XIST. The RNA binds to the same X chromosome from which it is transcribed and initiates a series of events leading to the chromosome's permanent silencing.

In the August 24, 2009 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology (www.jcb.org), Hall et al. exploit the fact that XIST temporarily dissociates from the X chromosome during mitosis and find that Aurora B kinase helps regulate the RNA's chromatin binding.

Although more than 10 years have passed since XIST was shown to paint the inactivated X (Xi) chromosome, little is known of how the 14-kb, noncoding transcript binds its target. "We know it doesn't just bind the DNA, but no specific binding proteins have been identified," says lead author Lisa Hall.

Biochemical approaches to finding protein partners may have been hampered by XIST's large size and tight association with the X chromosome, making it hard to extract the RNA complex and study it in vitro. So Hall, together with colleagues in Jeanne Lawrence's laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, took an in vivo approach—mimicking the events that cause XIST to drop off the Xi in early prophase.

Hall and colleagues found that treating cells with an inhibitor of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) caused XIST to be released from the Xi in interphase cells. PP1 usually keeps the kinase Aurora B in check until the start of mitosis, so the team wondered whether XIST's premature release was driven by increased Aurora B activity. XIST was no longer released in interphase cells if PP1 and Aurora B were both inhibited. Moreover, inhibiting Aurora B with either drugs or a specific siRNA caused XIST to be retained on the Xi even in mitotic cells.

Lawrence says that the team was excited to identify Aurora B as a regulator of XIST. Their previous studies had suggested that a broader chromatin organizer might control XIST binding, particularly during cancer when the regulation of XIST and the Xi often goes awry. Aurora B fits the bill perfectly as it localizes to the chromosome arms at prophase, phosphorylates several chromatin proteins including histone H3, and is frequently activated in cancer cells.

It remains unclear exactly how Aurora B promotes XIST's loss from the Xi. "There are probably multiple places that XIST anchors to chromatin," says Lawrence. "In order to release it, you have to modify multiple points." Further studies on the mitotic loss of XIST should help identify these different anchor points and determine how they are modified to promote or block RNA binding.

XIST may, in fact, represent a broader class of noncoding RNAs that associate with and regulate heterochromatin. "We hope that manipulating binding in vivo provides a new way to study RNA–chromatin interactions that other labs will build on," says Lawrence. "It will be interesting to determine if these other RNAs mirror the behavior of XIST and are controlled by the same mechanism."

About the Journal of Cell Biology

Founded in 1955, the Journal of Cell Biology (JCB) is published by the Rockefeller University Press. All editorial decisions on manuscripts submitted are made by active scientists in conjunction with our in-house scientific editors. JCB content is posted to PubMed Central, where it is available to the public for free six months after publication. Authors retain copyright of their published works and third parties may reuse the content for non-commercial purposes under a creative commons license.

Hall, L.L., et al. 2009. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200811143

Rita Sullivan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jcb.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht eTRANSAFE – collaborative research project aimed at improving safety in drug development process
26.09.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht Beer can lift your spirits
26.09.2017 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The fastest light-driven current source

Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.

Graphene is up to the job

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bacterial Nanosized Speargun Works Like a Power Drill

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

The fastest light-driven current source

26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Beer can lift your spirits

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>