Research ArticleCELL BIOLOGY

Nuclear actin regulates inducible transcription by enhancing RNA polymerase II clustering

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Science Advances  15 Apr 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 16, eaay6515
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay6515


Gene expression in response to stimuli underlies many fundamental processes. However, how transcription is regulated under these scenarios is largely unknown. Here, we find a previously unknown role of nuclear actin in transcriptional regulation. The RNA-seq data reveal that nuclear actin is required for the serum-induced transcriptional program. Using super-resolution imaging, we found a remarkable enhancement of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) clustering upon serum stimulation, and this enhancement requires nuclear actin. Pol II clusters colocalized with the serum-response genes and nuclear actin filaments upon serum stimulation. Furthermore, N-WASP is required for serum-enhanced Pol II clustering. N-WASP phase-separated with Pol II and nuclear actin. In addition to serum stimulation, nuclear actin also enhanced Pol II clustering upon interferon-γ treatment. Together, our work unveils that nuclear actin promotes the formation of transcription factory on inducible genes, acting as a general mechanism underlying the rapid response to environmental cues.

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