Small RNAs in transcriptional gene silencing and genome defence

Nature. 2009 Jan 22;457(7228):413-20. doi: 10.1038/nature07756.


Small RNA molecules of about 20-30 nucleotides have emerged as powerful regulators of gene expression and genome stability. Studies in fission yeast and multicellular organisms suggest that effector complexes, directed by small RNAs, target nascent chromatin-bound non-coding RNAs and recruit chromatin-modifying complexes. Interactions between small RNAs and nascent non-coding transcripts thus reveal a new mechanism for targeting chromatin-modifying complexes to specific chromosome regions and suggest possibilities for how the resultant chromatin states may be inherited during the process of chromosome duplication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Silencing / physiology*
  • Genome / genetics*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*


  • Chromatin
  • RNA, Small Interfering