Epigenomics pp 177-185 | Cite as

Role of Small RNAs in Establishing Chromosomal Architecture in Drosophila

  • James A. Birchler


The role of small RNA silencing is well established for its action in post-transcriptional activity as a defense against viruses and as an experimental tool. However, evidence from many organisms indicates a role of small RNAs in establishing chromatin domains in the nucleus. Here, the role of RNA silencing components in chromatin modifications in Drosophila is reviewed. Mutations in genes involved with the production of both short interfering RNA (siRNA) and piwi interacting RNA (piRNA) affect the chromatin configuration involved with transgene silencing, pairing sensitive silencing, heterochromatin, centomeres and telomeres. The small RNA pathways are also involved with the integrity of chromatin insulators and the nucleolus.


RNAi siRNA Transgene silencing Telomeres Chromatin insulators Heterochromatin Pairing sensitive silencing Centromeres piRNA 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. Birchler
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biological Sciences, Tucker HallUniversity of MissouriColumbia

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