L Stojic, M Niemczyk, A Orjalo, Y Ito, AEM Ruijter, S Uribe-Lewis, N Joseph, S Weston, S Menon, DT Odom, J Rinn, F Gergely, A Murrell
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) regulate gene expression via their RNA product or through transcriptional interference, yet a strategy to differentiate these two processes is lacking. To address this, we used multiple small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to silence GNG12-AS1, a nuclear lncRNA transcribed in an antisense orientation to the tumour-suppressor DIRAS3. Here we show that while most siRNAs silence GNG12-AS1 post-transcriptionally, siRNA complementary to exon 1 of GNG12-AS1 suppresses its transcription by recruiting Argonaute 2 and inhibiting RNA polymerase II binding. Transcriptional, but not post-transcriptional, silencing of GNG12-AS1 causes concomitant upregulation of DIRAS3, indicating a function in transcriptional interference. This change in DIRAS3 expression is sufficient to impair cell cycle progression. In addition, the reduction in GNG12-AS1 transcripts alters MET signalling and cell migration, but these are independent of DIRAS3. Thus, differential siRNA targeting of a lncRNA allows dissection of the functions related to the process and products of its transcription.