Dr. Xiong Ji published a paper in Genome Biology.
Mammalian cells have three types of RNA polymerases (Pols), Pol I, II, and III. However, the extent to which these polymerases are cross-regulated and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear.
We employ genome-wide profiling after acute depletion of Pol I, Pol II, or Pol III to assess cross-regulatory effects between these Pols. We find that these enzymes mainly affect the transcription of their own target genes, while certain genes are transcribed by the other polymerases. Importantly, the most active type of crosstalk is exemplified by the fact that Pol III depletion affects Pol II transcription. Pol II genes with transcription changes upon Pol III depletion are enriched in diverse cellular functions, and Pol III binding sites are found near their promoters. However, these Pol III binding sites do not correspond to transfer RNAs. Moreover, we demonstrate that Pol III regulates Pol II transcription and chromatin binding of the facilitates chromatin transcription (FACT) complex to alter local chromatin structures, which in turn affects the Pol II transcription rate.
Our results support a model suggesting that RNA polymerases show cross-regulatory effects: Pol III affects local chromatin structures and the FACT-Pol II axis to regulate the Pol II transcription rate at certain gene loci. This study provides a new perspective for understanding the dysregulation of Pol III in various tissues affected by developmental diseases.