Publications by authors named "Elisa Guffanti"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Role of histone modifications and early termination in pervasive transcription and antisense-mediated gene silencing in yeast.

Nucleic Acids Res 2014 Apr 4;42(7):4348-62. Epub 2014 Feb 4.

Department of Cell Biology and NCCR "Frontiers in Genetics", iGE3, University of Geneva, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland, EBI-EMBL Hinxton, Cambridge CB101SD, England, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany, Department of Genetics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94395 USA and Stanford Genome Technology Center, Palo Alto, CA 94303, USA.

Most genomes, including yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, are pervasively transcribed producing numerous non-coding RNAs, many of which are unstable and eliminated by nuclear or cytoplasmic surveillance pathways. We previously showed that accumulation of PHO84 antisense RNA (asRNA), in cells lacking the nuclear exosome component Rrp6, is paralleled by repression of sense transcription in a process dependent on the Hda1 histone deacetylase (HDAC) and the H3K4 histone methyl transferase Set1. Here we investigate this process genome-wide and measure the whole transcriptome of various histone modification mutants in a Δrrp6 strain using tiling arrays. We confirm widespread occurrence of potentially antisense-dependent gene regulation and identify three functionally distinct classes of genes that accumulate asRNAs in the absence of Rrp6. These classes differ in whether the genes are silenced by the asRNA and whether the silencing is HDACs and histone methyl transferase-dependent. Among the distinguishing features of asRNAs with regulatory potential, we identify weak early termination by Nrd1/Nab3/Sen1, extension of the asRNA into the open reading frame promoter and dependence of the silencing capacity on Set1 and the HDACs Hda1 and Rpd3 particularly at promoters undergoing extensive chromatin remodelling. Finally, depending on the efficiency of Nrd1/Nab3/Sen1 early termination, asRNA levels are modulated and their capability of silencing is changed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gku100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3985671PMC
April 2014

Bimodal expression of PHO84 is modulated by early termination of antisense transcription.

Nat Struct Mol Biol 2013 Jul 16;20(7):851-8. Epub 2013 Jun 16.

Department of Cell Biology and National Center of Competence in Research "Frontiers in Genetics", University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Many Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes encode antisense transcripts, some of which are unstable and degraded by the exosome component Rrp6. Loss of Rrp6 results in the accumulation of long PHO84 antisense (AS) RNAs and repression of sense transcription through PHO84 promoter deacetylation. We used single-molecule resolution fluorescent in situ hybridization (smFISH) to investigate antisense-mediated transcription regulation. We show that PHO84 AS RNA acts as a bimodal switch, in which continuous, low-frequency antisense transcription represses sense expression within individual cells. Surprisingly, antisense RNAs do not accumulate at the PHO84 gene but are exported to the cytoplasm. Furthermore, rather than stabilizing PHO84 AS RNA, the loss of Rrp6 favors its elongation by reducing early transcription termination by Nrd1-Nab3-Sen1. These observations suggest that PHO84 silencing results from antisense transcription through the promoter rather than the static accumulation of antisense RNAs at the repressed gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nsmb.2598DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4972572PMC
July 2013

Trans-acting antisense RNAs mediate transcriptional gene cosuppression in S. cerevisiae.

Genes Dev 2009 Jul;23(13):1534-45

Department of Cell Biology, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Homology-dependent gene silencing, a phenomenon described as cosuppression in plants, depends on siRNAs. We provide evidence that in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is missing the RNAi machinery, protein coding gene cosuppression exists. Indeed, introduction of an additional copy of PHO84 on a plasmid or within the genome results in the cosilencing of both the transgene and the endogenous gene. This repression is transcriptional and position-independent and requires trans-acting antisense RNAs. Antisense RNAs induce transcriptional gene silencing both in cis and in trans, and the two pathways differ by the implication of the Hda1/2/3 complex. We also show that trans-silencing is influenced by the Set1 histone methyltransferase, which promotes antisense RNA production. Finally we show that although antisense-mediated cis-silencing occurs in other genes, trans-silencing so far depends on features specific to PHO84. All together our data highlight the importance of noncoding RNAs in mediating RNAi-independent transcriptional gene silencing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.522509DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2704465PMC
July 2009

Bidirectional promoters generate pervasive transcription in yeast.

Nature 2009 Feb 25;457(7232):1033-7. Epub 2009 Jan 25.

European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.

Genome-wide pervasive transcription has been reported in many eukaryotic organisms, revealing a highly interleaved transcriptome organization that involves hundreds of previously unknown non-coding RNAs. These recently identified transcripts either exist stably in cells (stable unannotated transcripts, SUTs) or are rapidly degraded by the RNA surveillance pathway (cryptic unstable transcripts, CUTs). One characteristic of pervasive transcription is the extensive overlap of SUTs and CUTs with previously annotated features, which prompts questions regarding how these transcripts are generated, and whether they exert function. Single-gene studies have shown that transcription of SUTs and CUTs can be functional, through mechanisms involving the generated RNAs or their generation itself. So far, a complete transcriptome architecture including SUTs and CUTs has not been described in any organism. Knowledge about the position and genome-wide arrangement of these transcripts will be instrumental in understanding their function. Here we provide a comprehensive analysis of these transcripts in the context of multiple conditions, a mutant of the exosome machinery and different strain backgrounds of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We show that both SUTs and CUTs display distinct patterns of distribution at specific locations. Most of the newly identified transcripts initiate from nucleosome-free regions (NFRs) associated with the promoters of other transcripts (mostly protein-coding genes), or from NFRs at the 3' ends of protein-coding genes. Likewise, about half of all coding transcripts initiate from NFRs associated with promoters of other transcripts. These data change our view of how a genome is transcribed, indicating that bidirectionality is an inherent feature of promoters. Such an arrangement of divergent and overlapping transcripts may provide a mechanism for local spreading of regulatory signals-that is, coupling the transcriptional regulation of neighbouring genes by means of transcriptional interference or histone modification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature07728DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2766638PMC
February 2009

Nuclear pore complex proteins mark the implantation window in human endometrium.

J Cell Sci 2008 Jun 27;121(Pt 12):2037-45. Epub 2008 May 27.

Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.

Nucleolar channel systems (NCSs) are membranous organelles appearing transiently in the epithelial cell nuclei of postovulatory human endometrium. Their characterization and use as markers for a healthy receptive endometrium have been limited because they are only identifiable by electron microscopy. Here we describe the light microscopic detection of NCSs using immunofluorescence. Specifically, the monoclonal nuclear pore complex antibody 414 shows that NCSs are present in about half of all human endometrial epithelial cells but not in any other cell type, tissue or species. Most nuclei contain only a single NCS of uniform 1 microm diameter indicating a tightly controlled organelle. The composition of NCSs is as unique as their structure; they contain only a subset each of the proteins of nuclear pore complexes, inner nuclear membrane, nuclear lamina and endoplasmic reticulum. Validation of our robust NCS detection method on 95 endometrial biopsies defines a 6-day window, days 19-24 (+/-1) of an idealized 28 day cycle, wherein NCSs occur. Therefore, NCSs precede and overlap with the implantation window and serve as potential markers of uterine receptivity. The immunodetection assay, combined with the hitherto underappreciated prevalence of NCSs, now enables simple screening and further molecular and functional dissection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jcs.030437DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2657873PMC
June 2008

Assembly into snoRNP controls 5'-end maturation of a box C/D snoRNA in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2006 Dec 17;351(2):468-73. Epub 2006 Oct 17.

Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biologia Molecolare, Università degli Studi di Parma, 43100 Parma, Italy.

The SNR52 gene, coding for a box C/D snoRNA, is the only snoRNA gene transcribed by RNA polymerase (Pol) III in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Pol III transcription generates a precisely terminated primary transcript that undergoes extensive 5'-end processing. Here, we show that mutations of the box C/D core motif required for snoRNP assembly compromise 5'-end maturation of the SNR52 snoRNA. Upstream processing was also impaired by specific depletion of either Nop1p or Nop58p snoRNP proteins. We further show that the nuclear exosome is required for 3'-end maturation of SNR52 snoRNA, at variance with all the other known Pol III transcripts. Our data suggest a functional coupling between snoRNP assembly and 5'-end maturation of independently transcribed box C/D snoRNAs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.10.053DOI Listing
December 2006

Distinct modes of TATA box utilization by the RNA polymerase III transcription machineries from budding yeast and higher plants.

Gene 2006 Sep 20;379:12-25. Epub 2006 May 20.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 23A, 43100 Parma, Italy.

The TATA box is a key upstream control element for basal tRNA gene transcription by RNA polymerase III in some eukaryotes, such as the fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) and higher plants, but not in others such as the budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). To gain information on this differential TATA box requirement, we examined side-by-side the in vitro transcription properties of TATA-containing and TATA-mutated plant and S. cerevisiae tDNAs in homologous in vitro transcription systems from both organisms and in a hybrid system in which yeast TBP was replaced by its plant homologue. The data support the general conclusion that specific features of the plant transcription machinery, rather than upstream region architecture per se, are responsible for the much stronger TATA box dependence of the plant system. In both systems, however, a strong influence of the TATA box on transcription start site selection was observed. This was particularly striking in the case of plant tDNAs, where TATA-rich upstream regions were found to favour the use of alternative initiation sites. Replacement of yeast TBP with its plant counterpart did not confer any general TATA box responsiveness to the yeast transcription machinery. Interactions involving components other than TBP are thus responsible for the strong TATA box requirement of plant tDNA transcription.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2006.03.013DOI Listing
September 2006

Nucleosome depletion activates poised RNA polymerase III at unconventional transcription sites in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

J Biol Chem 2006 Sep 2;281(39):29155-64. Epub 2006 Jul 2.

Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biologia Molecolare, Università degli Studi di Parma, 43100 Parma, Italy.

RNA polymerase (pol) III, assisted by the transcription factors TFIIIC and TFIIIB, transcribes small untranslated RNAs, such as tRNAs. In addition to known pol III-transcribed genes, the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome contains loci (ZOD1, ETC1-8) associated to incomplete pol III transcription complexes (Moqtaderi, Z., and Struhl, K. (2004) Mol. Cell. Biol. 24, 4118-4127). We show that a short segment of the ZOD1 locus, containing box A and box B promoter elements and a termination signal between them, directs the pol III-dependent production of a small RNA both in vitro and in vivo. In yeast cells, the levels of both ZOD1- and ETC5-specific transcripts were dramatically enhanced upon nucleosome depletion. Remarkably, transcription factor and pol III occupancy at the corresponding loci did not change significantly upon derepression, thus suggesting that chromatin opening activates poised pol III to transcription. Comparative genomic analysis revealed that the ZOD1 promoter is the only surviving portion of a tDNA(Ile) ancestor, whose transcription capacity has been preserved throughout evolution independently from the encoded RNA product. Similarly, another TFIIIC/TFIIIB-associated locus, close to the YGR033c open reading frame, was found to be the strictly conserved remnant of an ancient tDNA(Arg). The maintenance, by eukaryotic genomes, of chromatin-repressed, non-coding transcription units has implications for both genome expression and organization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M600387200DOI Listing
September 2006

A minimal promoter for TFIIIC-dependent in vitro transcription of snoRNA and tRNA genes by RNA polymerase III.

J Biol Chem 2006 Aug 19;281(33):23945-57. Epub 2006 Jun 19.

Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biologia Molecolare, Università degli Studi di Parma, 43100 Parma, Italy.

The Saccharomyces cerevisiae SNR52 gene is unique among the snoRNA coding genes in being transcribed by RNA polymerase III. The primary transcript of SNR52 is a 250-nucleotide precursor RNA from which a long leader sequence is cleaved to generate the mature snR52 RNA. We found that the box A and box B sequence elements in the leader region are both required for the in vivo accumulation of the snoRNA. As expected box B, but not box A, was absolutely required for stable TFIIIC, yet in vitro. Surprisingly, however, the box B was found to be largely dispensable for in vitro transcription of SNR52, whereas the box A-mutated template effectively recruited TFIIIB; yet it was transcriptionally inactive. Even in the complete absence of box B and both upstream TATA-like and T-rich elements, the box A still directed efficient, TFIIIC-dependent transcription. Box B-independent transcription was also observed for two members of the tRNA(Asn)(GTT) gene family, but not for two tRNA(Pro)(AGG) gene copies. Fully recombinant TFIIIC supported box B-independent transcription of both SNR52 and tRNA(Asn) genes, but only in the presence of TFIIIB reconstituted with a crude B'' fraction. Non-TFIIIB component(s) in this fraction were also required for transcription of wild-type SNR52. Transcription of the box B-less tRNA(Asn) genes was strongly influenced by their 5'-flanking regions, and it was stimulated by TBP and Brf1 proteins synergistically. The box A can thus be viewed as a core TFIIIC-interacting element that, assisted by upstream TFIIIB-DNA contacts, is sufficient to promote class III gene transcription.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M513814200DOI Listing
August 2006

Functional dissection of RNA polymerase III termination using a peptide nucleic acid as a transcriptional roadblock.

J Biol Chem 2004 May 17;279(20):20708-16. Epub 2004 Feb 17.

Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biologia Molecolare and Dipartimento di Chimica Organica e Industriale, Università degli Studi di Parma, 43100 Parma, Italy.

We have shown previously that a T(10) peptide nucleic acid (PNA) bound to the transcriptional terminator of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae tDNA(Ile)(TAT) gene arrests elongating yeast RNA polymerase (pol) III at a position that precedes by 20 bp the upstream end of the PNA roadblock (Dieci, G., Corradini, R., Sforza, S., Marchelli, R., and Ottonello, S. (2001) J. Biol. Chem. 276, 5720-5725). Here, a PNA-binding cassette was placed at various distances downstream of a functional tDNA(Ile) transcriptional terminator (T(6)) that is not bound by the T(10) PNA, and the effect of the PNA roadblock on RNA 3'-end formation, transcript release, and transcription reinitiation was examined. With a PNA roadblock placed as close as 5 bp downstream of the T(6) terminator, pol III could still reach the termination site and complete pre-tRNA synthesis, implying that the catalytic site-to-front edge (C-F) distance of the polymerase can shorten by >10 bp upon recognition of the terminator element. In addition, transcripts synthesized by a PNA-roadblocked terminating pol III were found to be released from transcription complexes. Interestingly, however, the same roadblock dramatically reduced the rate of transcription reinitiation. Also, when placed 5 bp downstream of a mutationally inactivated terminator element (T(3)GT(2)), the PNA roadblock restored transcription termination, thus indicating that the inactivated terminator is compromised in its ability to cause pol III pausing, but can still induce C-F distance shortening and transcript release. The latter two activities were found to be further impaired in variants of the inactivated terminator bearing fewer than three consecutive T residues (T(2)G(2)T(2) and TG(2)TGT). The data indicate that RNA polymerase pausing, C-F distance shortening, and transcript release are functionally distinguishable features of the termination process and point to the RNA release propensity of pol III as a major determinant of its remarkably high termination efficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M311295200DOI Listing
May 2004

A composite upstream sequence motif potentiates tRNA gene transcription in yeast.

J Mol Biol 2003 Oct;333(1):1-20

Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biologia Molecolare, Università di Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 23/A, 43100 Parma, Italy.

Transcription of eukaryotic tRNA genes relies on the TFIIIC-dependent recruitment of TFIIIB on a approximately 50 bp region upstream of the transcription start site (TSS). TFIIIC specifically interacts with highly conserved, intragenic promoter elements, while the contacts between TFIIIB and the upstream DNA have long been considered as largely non-specific. Through a computer search procedure designed to detect shared, yet degenerate sequence features, we have identified a conserved sequence pattern upstream of Saccharomyces cerevisiae tDNAs. This pattern consists of four regions in which particular sequences are over-represented. The most downstream of these regions surrounds the TSS, while the other three districts of sequence conservation (appearing as a centrally located TATA-like sequence flanked by T-rich elements on both sides) are located across the DNA region known to interact with TFIIIB. Upstream regions whose sequence conforms to this pattern were found to potentiate tRNA gene transcription, both in vitro and in vivo, by enhancing TFIIIB binding. A conserved pattern of DNA bendability was also revealed, with peaks of bending propensity centered on the TATA-like and the TSS regions. Sequence analysis of other eukaryotic genomes further revealed the widespread occurrence of conserved sequence patterns upstream of tDNAs, with striking lineage-specific differences in the number and sequence of conserved motifs. Our data strongly support the notion that tRNA gene transcription in eukaryotes is modulated by composite TFIIIB binding sites that may confer responsiveness to variation in TFIIIB activity and/or concentration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2003.08.016DOI Listing
October 2003