Nucleus size and DNA accessibility are linked to the regulation of paraspeckle formation in cellular differentiation

Markus Grosch, Sebastian Ittermann, Ejona Rusha, Tobias Greisle, Chaido Ori, Dong Jiunn Jeffery Truong, Adam C. O'Neill, Anna Pertek, Gil Gregor Westmeyer, Micha Drukker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Many long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been implicated in general and cell type-specific molecular regulation. Here, we asked what underlies the fundamental basis for the seemingly random appearance of nuclear lncRNA condensates in cells, and we sought compounds that can promote the disintegration of lncRNA condensates in vivo. Results: As a basis for comparing lncRNAs and cellular properties among different cell types, we screened lncRNAs in human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) that were differentiated to an atlas of cell lineages. We found that paraspeckles, which form by aggregation of the lncRNA NEAT1, are scaled by the size of the nucleus, and that small DNA-binding molecules promote the disintegration of paraspeckles and other lncRNA condensates. Furthermore, we found that paraspeckles regulate the differentiation of hPSCs. Conclusions: Positive correlation between the size of the nucleus and the number of paraspeckles exist in numerous types of human cells. The tethering and structure of paraspeckles, as well as other lncRNAs, to the genome can be disrupted by small molecules that intercalate in DNA. The structure-function relationship of lncRNAs that regulates stem cell differentiation is likely to be determined by the dynamics of nucleus size and binding site accessibility. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
JournalBMC Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 22 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


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