Tissue-Specific Gene Repositioning by Muscle Nuclear Membrane Proteins Enhances Repression of Critical Developmental Genes during Myogenesis

Mol Cell. 2016 Jun 16;62(6):834-847. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2016.04.035. Epub 2016 Jun 2.


Whether gene repositioning to the nuclear periphery during differentiation adds another layer of regulation to gene expression remains controversial. Here, we resolve this by manipulating gene positions through targeting the nuclear envelope transmembrane proteins (NETs) that direct their normal repositioning during myogenesis. Combining transcriptomics with high-resolution DamID mapping of nuclear envelope-genome contacts, we show that three muscle-specific NETs, NET39, Tmem38A, and WFS1, direct specific myogenic genes to the nuclear periphery to facilitate their repression. Retargeting a NET39 fragment to nucleoli correspondingly repositioned a target gene, indicating a direct tethering mechanism. Being able to manipulate gene position independently of other changes in differentiation revealed that repositioning contributes ⅓ to ⅔ of a gene's normal repression in myogenesis. Together, these NETs affect 37% of all genes changing expression during myogenesis, and their combined knockdown almost completely blocks myotube formation. This unequivocally demonstrates that NET-directed gene repositioning is critical for developmental gene regulation.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Chromosome Positioning*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / genetics*
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Muscle Development / genetics*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Myoblasts, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Envelope / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA Interference
  • Transfection


  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Net39 protein, mouse
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • TRIC-A protein, mouse
  • wolframin protein