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© 2015 The Authors. Non-coding RNAs play a key role in organizing the nucleus into functional subcompartments. By combining fluorescence microscopy and RNA deep-sequencing-based analysis, we found that RNA polymerase II transcripts originating from intronic Alu elements (aluRNAs) were enriched in the nucleolus. Antisense-oligo-mediated depletion of aluRNAs or drug-induced inhibition of RNA polymerase II activity disrupted nucleolar structure and impaired RNA polymerase I-dependent transcription of rRNA genes. In contrast, overexpression of a prototypic aluRNA sequence increased both nucleolus size and levels of pre-rRNA, suggesting a functional link between aluRNA, nucleolus integrity and pre-rRNA synthesis. Furthermore, we show that aluRNAs interact with nucleolin and target ectopic genomic loci to the nucleolus. Our study suggests an aluRNA-based mechanism that links RNA polymerase I and II activities and modulates nucleolar structure and rRNA production.
Caudron‐Herger, M., Pankert, T., Seiler, J., Németh, A., Voit, R., Grummt, I., & Rippe, K. (2015). Alu element‐containing RNA s maintain nucleolar structure and function. The EMBO Journal, 34(22), 2758–2774. https://doi.org/10.15252/embj.201591458