Grabbing the genome by the NADs

Timothy D Matheson, Paul D Kaufman


The regions of the genome that interact frequently with the nucleolus have been termed nucleolar-associated domains (NADs). Deep sequencing and DNA-fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) experiments have revealed that these domains are enriched for repetitive elements, regions of the inactive X chromosome (Xi), and several RNA polymerase III-transcribed genes. NADs are often marked by chromatin modifications characteristic of heterochromatin, including H3K27me3, H3K9me3, and H4K20me3, and artificial targeting of genes to this area is correlated with reduced expression. It has therefore been hypothesized that NAD localization to the nucleolar periphery contributes to the establishment and/or maintenance of heterochromatic silencing. Recently published studies from several multicellular eukaryotes have begun to reveal the trans-acting factors involved in NAD localization, including the insulator protein CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), chromatin assembly factor (CAF)-1 subunit p150, several nucleolar proteins, and two long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). The mechanisms by which these factors coordinate with one another in regulating NAD localization and/or silencing are still unknown. This review will summarize recently published studi...Continue Reading


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