RNA Polymerase III Transcription – Regulated by Chromatin Structure and Regulator of Nuclear Chromatin Organization

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Abstract

RNA polymerase III (Pol III) transcription is regulated by modifications of the chromatin. DNA methylation and post-translational modifications of histones, such as acetylation, phosphorylation and methylation have been linked to Pol III transcriptional activity. In addition to being regulated by modifications of DNA and histones, Pol III genes and its transcription factors have been implicated in the organization of nuclear chromatin in several organisms. In yeast, the ability of the Pol III transcription system to contribute to nuclear organization seems to be dependent on direct interactions of Pol III genes and/or its transcription factors TFIIIC and TFIIIB with the structural maintenance of chromatin (SMC) protein-containing complexes cohesin and condensin. In human cells, Pol III genes and transcription factors have also been shown to colocalize with cohesin and the transcription regulator and genome organizer CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF). Furthermore, chromosomal sites have been identified in yeast and humans that are bound by partial Pol III machineries (extra TFIIIC sites – ETC; chromosome organizing clamps – COC). These ETCs/COC as well as Pol III genes possess the ability to act as boundary elements that restrict spreading of heterochromatin.