HP1 is a conserved prototype protein that plays an essential role in heterochromatin formation and epigenetic gene silencing through its interaction with histone methyltransferase enzymes (HMTases) and the histone H3 at lysine 9 (H3-MeK9). HP1 is also involved in telomere capping and, more surprisingly, in positive regulation of gene expression. Recently, a wide expression analysis, using a RIP-chip assays (RNA-immunoprecipitation on microarrays), has shown that HP1 associates with the transcripts of more than one hundred euchromatic genes and interacts with the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs) that are known to be involved in RNA processing. By these results, HP1 seems to be part of a complex that stabilizes RNA transcripts. Though previously unsuspected, it was also found that HP1-interacting hnRNPs have a functional role in heterochromatin formation. These proteins bind heterochromatin and are dominant suppressors of position effect variegation. Taken together, the results in the paper by Piacentini et al. open a window on a possible new conceptual landscape in which similar epigenetic mechanisms could have a significant role, both in the metabolism of RNA transcripts and in heterochromatin formation, producing opposite functional effects. These data seem to establish a functional link between euchromatin and heterochromatin.
Positive regulation of euchromatic gene expression by HP1 / Piacentini, Lucia; Pimpinelli, Sergio. - In: FLY. - ISSN 1933-6934. - ELETTRONICO. - 4:4(2010), pp. 299-301. [10.4161/fly.4.4.13261]