Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 34312949
Link to DOI – 10.15252/embr.202052320
EMBO Rep 2021 Jul; (): e52320
HP1 proteins are best known as markers of heterochromatin and gene silencing. Yet, they are also RNA-binding proteins and the HP1γ/CBX3 family member is present on transcribed genes together with RNA polymerase II, where it regulates co-transcriptional processes such as alternative splicing. To gain insight in the role of the RNA-binding activity of HP1γ in transcriptionally active chromatin, we have captured and analysed RNAs associated with this protein. We find that HP1γ is specifically targeted to hexameric RNA motifs and coincidentally transposable elements of the SINE family. As these elements are abundant in introns, while essentially absent from exons, the HP1γ RNA association tethers unspliced pre-mRNA to chromatin via the intronic regions and limits the usage of intronic cryptic splice sites. Thus, our data unveil novel determinants in the relationship between chromatin and co-transcriptional splicing.