Ard R, Tong P, Allshire RC
Most long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) encoded by eukaryotic genomes remain uncharacterized. Here we focus on a set of intergenic lncRNAs in fission yeast. Deleting one of these lncRNAs exhibited a clear phenotype: drug sensitivity. Detailed analyses of the affected locus revealed that transcription of the nc-tgp1 lncRNA regulates drug tolerance by repressing the adjacent phosphate-responsive permease gene transporter for glycerophosphodiester 1 (tgp1(+)). We demonstrate that the act of transcribing nc-tgp1 over the tgp1(+) promoter increases nucleosome density, prevents transcription factor access and thus represses tgp1(+) without the need for RNA interference or heterochromatin components. We therefore conclude that tgp1(+) is regulated by transcriptional interference. Accordingly, decreased nc-tgp1 transcription permits tgp1(+) expression upon phosphate starvation. Furthermore, nc-tgp1 loss induces tgp1(+) even in repressive conditions. Notably, drug sensitivity results directly from tgp1(+) expression in the absence of the nc-tgp1 RNA. Thus, transcription of an lncRNA governs drug tolerance in fission yeast.