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Cytoplasmic membrane-associated DNA (cmDNA) is a species of DNA that attaches to the plasma membrane and has physical and chemical properties that differ from those of bulk chromosomal and mitochondrial DNAs. Here, we used deep sequencing to analyze cmDNA and showed that satellite DNAs consisting of both of simple (CCATT)(N) repeats from the pericentromere regions of the chromosomes and 171-bp α-satellite repeat sequences from centromeres were highly enriched. Importantly, we found there is a special cytoplasmic membrane-associated transcription system in which DNA-dependent RNA polymerase II, which colocalizes with template cmDNA at the plasma membrane, can transcribe the membrane-associated 171-bp α-satellite repeat sequences into RNA. Analysis of phosphorylation patterns indicated that the RNA polymerase II in the plasma membrane is in a different chemical state from its nuclear counterpart.


Julong Cheng, Ali Torkamani, Yingjie Peng, Teresa M Jones, Richard A Lerner. Plasma membrane associated transcription of cytoplasmic DNA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2012 Jul 3;109(27):10827-31

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PMID: 22711823

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