Oct 2, 2020

RNA matchmaking remodels lncRNA structure and promotes PRC2 activity

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Maggie M BalasAaron M Johnson


Human Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) catalysis of histone H3 lysine 27 methylation at certain loci depends on long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Yet, in apparent contradiction, RNA is a potent catalytic inhibitor of PRC2. Here we show that intermolecular RNA-RNA interactions between the lncRNA HOTAIR and its target genes can relieve RNA inhibition of PRC2. RNA matchmaking is promoted by heterogenous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) B1, which uses multiple protein domains to bind regions of HOTAIR via multi-valent protein-RNA interactions. Chemical probing demonstrates that RNA matchmaking changes HOTAIR RNA structure. Genome-wide HOTAIR/PRC2 activity occurs at genes whose transcripts can make favorable RNA-RNA interactions with HOTAIR. We demonstrate that RNA-RNA matches of HOTAIR with target gene RNAs can relieve the inhibitory effect of a single lncRNA for PRC2 activity. Our work highlights an intrinsic switch that allows PRC2 activity in specific RNA contexts, which could explain how many lncRNAs work with PRC2.

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