In the universe of science, two worlds have recently collided - those of RNA and chromatin. The intersection of these two fields has been impending, but evidence for such a meaningful collision has only recently become apparent. In this review, we discuss the implications for noncoding RNAs and the formation of specialized chromatin domains in various epigenetic processes as diverse as dosage compensation, RNA interference-mediated heterochromatin assembly and gene silencing, and programmed DNA elimination. While mechanistic details as to how the RNA and chromatin worlds connect remain unclear, intriguing parallels exist in the overall design and machinery used in model organisms from all eukaryotic kingdoms. The role of potential RNA-binding chromatin-associated proteins will be discussed as one possible link between RNA and chromatin.
- Dosage compensation
- Transcriptional gene silencing