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.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.