Publication details

Nucleolar rDNA folds into condensed foci with a specific combination of epigenetic marks

Investor logo
Investor logo
Investor logo


Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Plant Journal
MU Faculty or unit

Central European Institute of Technology

Keywords chromatin; rDNA; nucleolar foci; histone variants; chromatin immunoprecipitation; super-resolution microscopy
Description Arabidopsis thaliana 45S ribosomal genes (rDNA) are located in tandem arrays called nucleolus organizing regions on the termini of chromosomes 2 and 4 (NOR2 and NOR4) and encode rRNA, a crucial structural element of the ribosome. The current model of rDNA organization suggests that inactive rRNA genes accumulate in the condensed chromocenters in the nucleus and at the nucleolar periphery, while the nucleolus delineates active genes. We challenge the perspective that all intranucleolar rDNA is active by showing that a subset of nucleolar rDNA assembles into condensed foci marked by H3.1 and H3.3 histones that also contain the repressive H3K9me2 histone mark. By using plant lines containing a low number of rDNA copies, we further found that the condensed foci relate to the folding of rDNA, which appears to be a common mechanism of rDNA regulation inside the nucleolus. The H3K9me2 histone mark found in condensed foci represents a typical modification of bulk inactive rDNA, as we show by genome-wide approaches, similar to the H2A.W histone variant. The euchromatin histone marks H3K27me3 and H3K4me3, in contrast, do not colocalize with nucleolar foci and their overall levels in the nucleolus are very low. We further demonstrate that the rDNA promoter is an important regulatory region of the rDNA, where the distribution of histone variants and histone modifications are modulated in response to rDNA activity.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info