Short Interspersed Nuclear Elements (SINEs) are non-autonomous retrotransposons that comprise a large fraction of the human genome. SINEs are demethylated in human disease, but whether SINEs become transcriptionally induced and how the resulting transcripts may affect the expression of protein coding genes is unknown. Here, we show that downregulation of the mRNA of the tumor suppressor gene BRCA1 is associated with increased transcription of SINEs and production of sense and antisense SINE small RNAs. We find that BRCA1 mRNA is post-transcriptionally down-regulated in a Dicer and Drosha dependent manner and that expression of a SINE inverted repeat with sequence identity to a BRCA1 intron is sufficient for downregulation of BRCA1 mRNA. These observations suggest that transcriptional activation of SINEs could contribute to a novel mechanism of RNA mediated post-transcriptional silencing of human genes.
Peterson, Maureen; Chandler, Vicki; and Bosco, Giovanni, "High SINE RNA Expression Correlates with Post-Transcriptional Downregulation of BRCA1" (2013). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 888.