A Role for RNAi in Heterochromatin Formation in Drosophila

  • Nicole C. Riddle
  • Sarah C. R. Elgin
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 320)

Abstract

Heterochromatin is a specialized form of DNA packaging that results in a transcriptionally inactive conformation. While much progress has been made in characterizing the heterochromatin structure biochemically and via its effects on genes and transgenes, very little is known about how heterochromatin formation is initiated. Recent evidence from the yeast Saccharomyces pombe suggests the involvement of the RNA interference (RNAi) machinery in heterochromatin formation, and in particular in the targeting of the heterochromatin machinery to specific sites in the genome. In this article, we review the evidence for an involvement of RNAi in heterochromatin formation in the model system Drosophila melanogaster. It appears that while there are numerous threads that connect heterochromatin formation and gene silencing with the RNAi pathways in Drosophila, a direct role for RNAi in particular in the targeting of heterochromatin formation is still lacking.

Abbreviations

aa

Amino acids

Adh

Alcohol dehydrogenase

ATP

Adenine triphosphate

ChIP

Chromatin immunoprecipitation

dsRNA

Double-stranded RNA

E(var)

Enhancer of variegation

H3K4

Histone 3 lysine 4

H3K9me

Histone 3 methylated at lysine 9

HDAC

Histone deacetylase

HP1

Heterochromatin protein 1

I-RNA

Iosine-containing RNA

LTR

Long terminal repeat

miRNA

microRNA

MNase

Micrococcal nuclease

mRNA

Messenger RNA

PEV

Position effect variegation

rasiRNA

Repeat associated small interfering RNA

RISC

RNA-induced silencing complex

RITS

RNA-induced transcriptional silencing

RNAi

RNA interference

siRNA

Small interfering RNA

Su(var)

Suppressor of variegation

TSN

Tudor SN

VIG

Vasa intronic gene

ADAR

Adenosine deaminase

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole C. Riddle
  • Sarah C. R. Elgin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyWashington UniversityLouisUSA

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