Noncoding RNAs constitute a huge repertoire of gene regulatory molecules. Our previous, fine-resolution characterization of a mouse meiotic recombination hotspot from chromosome 8 resulted in identification of 2.4-kb unspliced and polyadenylated noncoding mrhl RNA. The gene is expressed in multiple tissues and is also present in rat but absent in humans. Here we report that the mrhl RNA gets processed to a small 80-nucleotide (nt) RNA species and is mediated by the Drosha complex. We also observe that the 80-nt Drosha product could be processed further to a 22-nt small RNA by Dicer in an in vitro reaction. However, this 22-nt product was not detected in vivo. The 80-nt as well as the 2.4-kb full-length RNA are nuclear-localized, showing distinct punctate nuclear signal. The colocalization of the noncoding RNA with Drosha and Nucleolin suggests the nucleolus as the site of processing of the 2.4-kb primary transcript. Additional foci of the processed 80-nt RNA were also observed outside the nucleolus, suggesting its role in some specific chromatin domain(s). Thus, this study reports a novel noncoding mrhl RNA that is processed and restricted within the cell nucleus
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