The Drosophila P68 RNA helicase regulates transcriptional deactivation by promoting RNA release from chromatin

Michael Buszczak, Allan C. Spradling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Terminating a gene's activity requires that pre-existing transcripts be matured or destroyed and that the local chromatin structure be returned to an inactive configuration. Here we show that the Drosophila homolog of the mammalian P68 RNA helicase plays a novel role in RNA export and gene deactivation. p68 mutations phenotypically resemble mutations in small bristles (sbr), the Drosophila homolog of the human mRNA export factor NXF1. Full-length hsp70 mRNA accumulates in the nucleus near its sites of transcription following heat shock of p68 homozygotes, and hsp70 gene shutdown is delayed. Unstressed mutant larvae show similar defects in transcript accumulation and gene repression at diverse loci, and we find that p68 mutations are allelic to Lighten-up, a known suppressor of position effect variegation. Our observations reveal a strong connection between transcript clearance and gene repression. P68 may be needed to rapidly remove transcripts from a gene before its activity can be shut down and its chromatin reset to an inactive state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-989
Number of pages13
JournalGenes & development
Volume20
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • p68
  • RNA export
  • RNA helicase
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology

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