Argonaute (AGO) proteins have a well-established role in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression as key component of the RNA silencing pathways. Recent evidence involves AGO proteins in mammalian nuclear processes such as transcription and splicing, though the mechanistic aspects of AGO nuclear functions remain largely elusive. Here, by SILAC-based interaction proteomics, we identify the chromatin-remodelling complex SWI/SNF as a novel AGO2 interactor in human cells. Moreover, we show that nuclear AGO2 is loaded with a novel class of Dicer-dependent short RNAs (sRNAs), that we called swiRNAs, which map nearby the Transcription Start Sites (TSSs) bound by SWI/SNF. The knockdown of AGO2 decreases nucleosome occupancy at the first nucleosome located downstream of TSSs in a swiRNA-dependent manner. Our findings indicate that in human cells AGO2 binds SWI/SNF and a novel class of sRNAs to establish nucleosome occupancy on target TSSs.
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