Research ArticleBIOCHEMISTRY

Establishing RNA-RNA interactions remodels lncRNA structure and promotes PRC2 activity

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Science Advances  14 Apr 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 16, eabc9191
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc9191


Human Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) catalysis of histone H3 lysine 27 methylation at certain loci depends on long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Yet, in apparent contradiction, RNA is a potent catalytic inhibitor of PRC2. Here, we show that intermolecular RNA-RNA interactions between the lncRNA HOTAIR and its targets can relieve RNA inhibition of PRC2. RNA bridging is promoted by heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein B1, which uses multiple protein domains to bind HOTAIR regions via multivalent protein-RNA interactions. Chemical probing demonstrates that establishing RNA-RNA interactions changes HOTAIR structure. Genome-wide HOTAIR/PRC2 activity occurs at genes whose transcripts can make favorable RNA-RNA interactions with HOTAIR. We demonstrate that RNA-RNA matches of HOTAIR with target gene RNAs can relieve the inhibitory effect of a single lncRNA for PRC2 activity after B1 dissociation. Our work highlights an intrinsic switch that allows PRC2 activity in specific RNA contexts, which could explain how many lncRNAs work with PRC2.

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