Phenotypic transcription factors epigenetically mediate cell growth control
Document Type Article
Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes are down-regulated during osteogenesis, myogenesis, and adipogenesis, necessitating a mechanistic understanding of interrelationships between growth control and phenotype commitment. Here, we show that cell fate-determining factors [MyoD, myogenin (Mgn), Runx2, C/EBPbeta] occupy rDNA loci and suppress rRNA expression during lineage progression, concomitant with decreased rRNA expression and reciprocal loss of occupancy by c-Myc, a proliferation-specific activator of rRNA transcription. We find interaction of phenotypic factors with the polymerase I activator upstream binding factor UBF-1 at interphase nucleoli, and this interaction is epigenetically retained on mitotic chromosomes at nucleolar organizing regions. Ectopic expression and RNA interference establish that MyoD, Mgn, Runx2, and C/EBPbeta each functionally suppress rRNA genes and global protein synthesis. We conclude that epigenetic control of ribosomal biogenesis by lineage-specific differentiation factors is a general developmental mechanism for coordinate control of cell growth and phenotype.