Monoallelically expressed noncoding RNAs form nucleolar territories on NOR-containing chromosomes and regulate rRNA expression

Qinyu Hao, Minxue Liu, Swapna Vidhur Daulatabad, Saba Gaffari, You Jin Song, Rajneesh Srivastava, Shivang Bhaskar, Anurupa Moitra, Hazel Mangan, Elizabeth Tseng, Rachel B Gilmore, Susan M Frier, Xin Chen, Chengliang Wang, Sui Huang, Stormy Chamberlain, Hong Jin, Jonas Korlach, Brian McStay, Saurabh SinhaSarath Chandra Janga, Supriya G Prasanth, Kannanganattu V Prasanth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Out of the several hundred copies of rRNA genes arranged in the nucleolar organizing regions (NOR) of the five human acrocentric chromosomes, ~50% remain transcriptionally inactive. NOR-associated sequences and epigenetic modifications contribute to the differential expression of rRNAs. However, the mechanism(s) controlling the dosage of active versus inactive rRNA genes within each NOR in mammals is yet to be determined. We have discovered a family of ncRNAs, SNULs (Single NUcleolus Localized RNA), which form constrained sub-nucleolar territories on individual NORs and influence rRNA expression. Individual members of the SNULs monoallelically associate with specific NOR-containing chromosomes. SNULs share sequence similarity to pre-rRNA and localize in the sub-nucleolar compartment with pre-rRNA. Finally, SNULs control rRNA expression by influencing pre-rRNA sorting to the DFC compartment and pre-rRNA processing. Our study discovered a novel class of ncRNAs influencing rRNA expression by forming constrained nucleolar territories on individual NORs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere80684
StatePublished - Feb 8 2024


  • cell lines
  • chromosomes
  • gene expression
  • human
  • noncoding RNA
  • nucleolus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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