Transcriptional inhibition after irradiation occurs preferentially at highly expressed genes in a manner dependent on cell cycle progression

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Transcriptional inhibition after irradiation occurs preferentially at highly expressed genes in a manner dependent on cell cycle progression

Authors

Chen, Z.; Wang, X.; Gao, X.; Arslanovic, N.; Chen, K.; Tyler, J. K.

Abstract

In response to DNA double strand damage, ongoing transcription is inhibited to facilitate accurate DNA repair while transcriptional recovery occurs after DNA repair is complete. However, the mechanisms at play and identity of the transcripts being regulated in this manner are unclear. In contrast to the situation following UV damage, we found that transcriptional recovery after ionizing radiation (IR) occurs in a manner independent of the HIRA histone chaperone. Sequencing of the nascent transcripts identified a programmed transcriptional response, where certain transcripts and pathways are rapidly downregulated after IR, while other transcripts and pathways are upregulated. Specifically, most of the loss of nascent transcripts occurring after IR is due to inhibition of transcriptional initiation of the highly transcribed histone genes and the rDNA. To identify factors responsible for transcriptional inhibition after IR in an unbiased manner, we performed a whole genome gRNA library CRISPR/Cas9 screen. Many of the top hits in our screen were factors required for protein neddylation. However, at short times after inhibition of neddylation, transcriptional inhibition still occurred after IR, even though neddylation was effectively inhibited. Persistent inhibition of neddylation blocked transcriptional inhibition after IR, and it also leads to cell cycle arrest. Indeed, we uncovered that many inhibitors and conditions that lead to cell cycle arrest in G1 or G2 phase also prevent transcriptional inhibition after IR. As such, it appears that transcriptional inhibition after IR occurs preferentially at highly expressed genes in cycling cells.

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