Hongjae Sunwoo

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, United States

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Publications (3)47.23 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The cell nucleus is a highly compartmentalized organelle harbouring a variety of dynamic membraneless nuclear bodies. How these subnuclear domains are established and maintained is not well understood. Here, we investigate the molecular mechanism of how one nuclear body, the paraspeckle, is assembled and organized. Paraspeckles are discrete ribonucleoprotein bodies found in mammalian cells and implicated in nuclear retention of hyperedited mRNAs. We developed a live-cell imaging system that allows for the inducible transcription of Men ɛ/β (also known as Neat1; ref. 12) noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) and the direct visualization of the recruitment of paraspeckle proteins. Using this system, we demonstrate that Men ɛ/β ncRNAs are essential to initiate the de novo assembly of paraspeckles. These newly formed structures effectively harbour nuclear-retained mRNAs confirming that they are bona fide functional paraspeckles. By three independent approaches, we show that it is the act of Men ɛ/β transcription, but not ncRNAs alone, that regulates paraspeckle maintenance. Finally, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) analyses supported a critical structural role for Men ɛ/β ncRNAs in paraspeckle organization. This study establishes a model in which Men ɛ/β ncRNAs serve as a platform to recruit proteins to assemble paraspeckles.
    Nature Cell Biology 01/2011; 13(1):95-101. · 20.76 Impact Factor
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    Jeremy E Wilusz, Hongjae Sunwoo, David L Spector
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    ABSTRACT: Most of the eukaryotic genome is transcribed, yielding a complex network of transcripts that includes tens of thousands of long noncoding RNAs with little or no protein-coding capacity. Although the vast majority of long noncoding RNAs have yet to be characterized thoroughly, many of these transcripts are unlikely to represent transcriptional "noise" as a significant number have been shown to exhibit cell type-specific expression, localization to subcellular compartments, and association with human diseases. Here, we highlight recent efforts that have identified a myriad of molecular functions for long noncoding RNAs. In some cases, it appears that simply the act of noncoding RNA transcription is sufficient to positively or negatively affect the expression of nearby genes. However, in many cases, the long noncoding RNAs themselves serve key regulatory roles that were assumed previously to be reserved for proteins, such as regulating the activity or localization of proteins and serving as organizational frameworks of subcellular structures. In addition, many long noncoding RNAs are processed to yield small RNAs or, conversely, modulate how other RNAs are processed. It is thus becoming increasingly clear that long noncoding RNAs can function via numerous paradigms and are key regulatory molecules in the cell.
    Genes & development 08/2009; 23(13):1494-504. · 12.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Studies of the transcriptional output of the human and mouse genomes have revealed that there are many more transcripts produced than can be accounted for by predicted protein-coding genes. Using a custom microarray, we have identified 184 non-coding RNAs that exhibit more than twofold up- or down-regulation upon differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts into myotubes. Here, we focus on the Men epsilon/beta locus, which is up-regulated 3.3-fold during differentiation. Two non-coding RNA isoforms are produced from a single RNA polymerase II promoter, differing in the location of their 3' ends. Men epsilon is a 3.2-kb polyadenylated RNA, whereas Men beta is an approximately 20-kb transcript containing a genomically encoded poly(A)-rich tract at its 3'-end. The 3'-end of Men beta is generated by RNase P cleavage. The Men epsilon/beta transcripts are localized to nuclear paraspeckles and directly interact with NONO. Knockdown of MEN epsilon/beta expression results in the disruption of nuclear paraspeckles. Furthermore, the formation of paraspeckles, after release from transcriptional inhibition by DRB treatment, was suppressed in MEN epsilon/beta-depleted cells. Our findings indicate that the MEN epsilon/beta non-coding RNAs are essential structural/organizational components of paraspeckles.
    Genome Research 01/2009; 19(3):347-59. · 14.40 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

531 Citations
47.23 Total Impact Points


  • 2009–2011
    • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
      Cold Spring Harbor, New York, United States
    • Stony Brook University
      Stony Brook, New York, United States