Epigenetic repression of ribosomal RNA transcription by ROCK-dependent aberrant cytoskeletal organization

Tse Hsiang Wu, Yuan Yeh Kuo, Hsiao Hui Lee, Jean Cheng Kuo, Meng Hsin Ou, Zee Fen Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

4 Scopus citations


It is known that ribosomal RNA (rRNA) synthesis is regulated by cellular energy and proliferation status. In this study, we investigated rRNA gene transcription in response to cytoskeletal stress. Our data revealed that the cell shape constrained by isotropic but not elongated micropatterns in HeLa cells led to a significant reduction in rRNA transcription dependent on ROCK. Expression of a dominant-active form of ROCK also repressed rRNA transcription. Isotropic constraint and ROCK over-activation led to different types of aberrant F-actin organization, but their suppression effects on rRNA transcription were similarly reversed by inhibition of histone deacetylase (HDAC) or overexpression of a dominant negative form of Nesprin, which shields the signal transmitted from actin filament to the nuclear interior. We further showed that the binding of HDAC1 to the active fraction of rDNA genes is increased by ROCK over-activation, thus reducing H3K9/14 acetylation and suppressing transcription. Our results demonstrate an epigenetic control of active rDNA genes that represses rRNA transcription in response to the cytoskeletal stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28685
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 28 06 2016
Externally publishedYes


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