Non-coding RNAs in meiosis
During meiosis, regulated recombination occurs throughout the genome. Meiotic recombination is vital not only to assort parental genetic traits but also to ensure accurate chromosomal segregation, and the maternal age effect (the increase in spontaneous abortion and birth defects with increasing maternal age) appears largely due to defects in meiotic recombination.
We predict that non-coding RNAs and non-coding RNA degradation proteins should be involved in directing meiotic recombination, and we propose a mechanism by which the degradation of non-coding RNA could allow recruitment of DNA modifying proteins to precise chromatin locations (see Figure).
We are currently studying the non-coding RNA landscape of meiotic cells, and the changes in recombination pattern that occur when non-coding RNA processing is disrupted.
The figure shows the proposed mechanism for recruitment of chromatin modifiers through degradation of unstable non-coding RNA. The co-transcriptional degradation system would ensure that proteins are recruited precisely to sites of action.