Nuclear speckles are nuclear bodies containing RNA-binding proteins as well as RNAs including long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Maternally expressed gene 3 (MEG3) is a nuclear retained lncRNA found to associate with nuclear speckles. To understand the association dynamics of MEG3 lncRNA with nuclear speckles in living cells, we generated a fluorescently tagged MEG3 transcript that could be detected in real time. Under regular conditions, transient association of MEG3 with nuclear speckles was observed, including a nucleoplasmic fraction. Transcription or splicing inactivation conditions, known to affect nuclear speckle structure, showed prominent and increased association of MEG3 lncRNA with the nuclear speckles, specifically forming a ring-like structure around the nuclear speckles. This contrasted with metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma (MALAT1) lncRNA that is normally highly associated with nuclear speckles, which was released and dispersed in the nucleoplasm. Under normal conditions, MEG3 dynamically associated with the periphery of the nuclear speckles, but under transcription or splicing inhibition, MEG3 could also enter the center of the nuclear speckle. Altogether, using live-cell imaging approaches, we find that MEG3 lncRNA is a transient resident of nuclear speckles and that its association with this nuclear body is modulated by the levels of transcription and splicing activities in the cell.
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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- live-cell imaging
- nuclear bodies
- nuclear speckles