The frequency natural antisense transcript first promotes, then represses, frequency gene expression via facultative heterochromatin

Na Li, Tammy M. Joska, Catherine E. Ruesch, Samuel J. Coster, William J. Belden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

The circadian clock is controlled by a network of interconnected feedback loops that require histone modifications and chromatin remodeling. Long noncoding natural antisense transcripts (NATs) originate from Period in mammals and frequency (frq) in Neurospora. To understand the role of NATs in the clock, we put the frq antisense transcript qrf (frq spelled backwards) under the control of an inducible promoter. Replacing the endogenous qrf promoter altered heterochromatin formation and DNA methylation at frq. In addition, constitutive, low-level induction of qrf caused a dramatic effect on the endogenous rhythm and elevated circadian output. Surprisingly, even though qrf is needed for heterochromatic silencing, induction of qrf initially promoted frq gene expression by creating a more permissible local chromatin environment. The observation that antisense expression can initially promote sense gene expression before silencing via heterochromatin formation at convergent loci is also found when a NAT to hygromycin resistance gene is driven off the endogenous vivid (vvd) promoter in the ?vvd strain. Facultative heterochromatin silencing at frq functions in a parallel pathway to previously characterized VVDdependent silencing and is needed to establish the appropriate circadian phase. Thus, repression via dicer-independent siRNAmediated facultative heterochromatin is largely independent of, and occurs alongside, other feedback processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4357-4362
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume112
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 7 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Keywords

  • Circadian rhythm
  • DNA methylation
  • Heterochromatin
  • Natural antisense transcripts

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