InteractiveFly: GeneBrief

Polycomblike: Biological Overview | References

Gene name - Polycomblike

Synonyms -

Cytological map position - 55B8-55B8

Function - miscellaneous transcription factor

Keywords - Polycomb group, H3-K27 trimethylation at Polycomb target genes, Polycomb-repressed chromatin state

Symbol - Pcl

FlyBase ID: FBgn0003044

Genetic map position - 2R: 14,022,934..14,026,965 [+]

Classification - PHD zinc finger protein

Cellular location - nuclear

NCBI links: EntrezGene

Psi orthologs: Biolitmine

Recent literature
Apitz, H. and Salecker, I. (2016). Retinal determination genes coordinate neuroepithelial specification and neurogenesis modes in the Drosophila optic lobe. Development 143: 2431-2442. PubMed ID: 27381228
Differences in neuroepithelial patterning and neurogenesis modes contribute to area-specific diversifications of neural circuits. In the Drosophila visual system, two neuroepithelia, the outer (OPC) and inner (IPC) proliferation centers, generate neuron subtypes for four ganglia in several ways. Whereas neuroepithelial cells in the medial OPC directly convert into neuroblasts, in an IPC subdomain they generate migratory progenitors by epithelial-mesenchymal transition that mature into neuroblasts in a second proliferative zone. The molecular mechanisms that regulate the identity of these neuroepithelia, including their neurogenesis modes, remain poorly understood. Analysis of Polycomblike revealed that loss of Polycomb group-mediated repression of the Hox gene Abdominal-B (Abd-B) causes the transformation of OPC to IPC neuroepithelial identity. This suggests that the neuroepithelial default state is IPC-like, whereas OPC identity is derived. Ectopic Abd-B blocks expression of the highly conserved retinal determination gene network members Eyes absent (Eya), Sine oculis (So) and Homothorax (Hth). These factors are essential for OPC specification and neurogenesis control. Finally, eya and so are also sufficient to confer OPC-like identity, and, in parallel with hth, the OPC-specific neurogenesis mode on the IPC. 


PcG protein complex PRC2 is thought to be the histone methyltransferase (HMTase) responsible for H3-K27 trimethylation at Polycomb target genes. This study reports the biochemical purification and characterization of a distinct form of Drosophila PRC2 that contains the Polycomb group protein Polycomblike (Pcl). Like PRC2, Pcl-PRC2 is an H3-K27-specific HMTase that mono-, di- and trimethylates H3-K27 in nucleosomes in vitro. Analysis of Drosophila mutants that lack Pcl unexpectedly reveals that Pcl-PRC2 is required to generate high levels of H3-K27 trimethylation at Polycomb target genes but is dispensable for the genome-wide H3-K27 mono- and dimethylation that is generated by PRC2. In Pcl mutants, Polycomb target genes become derepressed even though H3-K27 trimethylation at these genes is only reduced and not abolished, and even though targeting of the Polycomb protein complexes PhoRC and PRC1 to Polycomb response elements is not affected. Pcl-PRC2 is thus the HMTase that generates the high levels of H3-K27 trimethylation in Polycomb target genes that are needed to maintain a Polycomb-repressed chromatin state (Nekrasov, 2007).

Genetic studies using Drosophila first identified Polycomb group (PcG) genes as regulators that are required for the long-term repression of HOX genes during development. To date, 17 different genes in Drosophila are classified as PcG members because mutations in these genes cause misexpression of HOX genes. All Drosophila PcG genes are also conserved in mammals and at least some of them are also conserved in plants. In all these organisms, PcG gene products function as repressors of HOX and/or other regulatory genes that control specific developmental programs. Moreover, recent studies that analyzed genome-wide binding of PcG proteins in Drosophila and in mammalian cells have identified a large number of target sites, and thus a whole new set of genes that potentially is subject to PcG repression (Nekrasov, 2007).

Biochemical purification and characterization of PcG protein complexes has advanced understanding of the PcG system. To date, three distinct PcG protein complexes have been isolated from Drosophila: PhoRC, PRC1 and PRC2. Biochemically purified Drosophila PRC2 contains the three PcG proteins Enhancer of zeste [E(z)], Suppressor of zeste 12 [Su(z)12] and Extra sex combs (Esc) and, in addition, Nurf55 (FlyBase name: Caf1), a protein that is present in many different chromatin complexes (Czermin, 2002; Müller, 2002). Drosophila PRC2 and the homologue mammalian complex are histone methyltransferases (HMTases) that specifically methylate H3-K27 in nucleosomes (Cao, 2002; Czermin, 2002; Kuzmichev, 2002; Müller, 2002). Chromatin immunoprecipitation (X-ChIP) analyses in Drosophila showed that PRC2 binds in a localized manner at Polycomb response elements (PREs) of target genes, but that H3-K27 trimethylation is present across the whole upstream control, promoter and coding region of these genes (Kahn, 2006; Mohd-Sarip, 2006; Papp, 2006; Schwartz, 2006). Studies that compared the inactive and active state of the HOX gene Ubx in developing Drosophila have found that PRC2 is constitutively bound at PREs and, surprisingly, that the whole upstream control region is constitutively trimethylated at H3-K27 (Papp, 2006). However, presence or absence of H3-K27 trimethylation in the Ubx promoter and coding region correlates tightly with the gene being repressed or active, respectively (Papp, 2006). H3-K27 trimethylation is thus a distinctive mark of PcG-repressed chromatin (Nekrasov, 2007).

Analysis of E(z) mutants suggests that E(z) is also responsible for the genome-wide H3-K27 mono- and dimethylation that has been reported to be present on more than 50% of H3 in Drosophila (Ebert, 2004). However, biochemical analyses showed that E(z) protein alone does not bind to nucleosomes and is virtually inactive as an enzyme; E(z) needs to associate with Su(z)12 and Nurf55 for nucleosome binding and with Esc for enzymatic activity (Czermin, 2002; Müller, 2002; Ketel, 2005; Nekrasov, 2005). This implies that the genome-wide H3-K27 mono- and dimethylation is generated by PRC2 or another E(z)-containing complex that is able to interact in a non-targeted manner with nucleosomes across the whole genome. Conversely, this raises the question whether H3-K27 trimethylation at PcG target genes is simply a consequence of PRC2 being targeted to PREs or whether additional features such as post-translational modifications or associated factors are required (Nekrasov, 2007).

Previous studies reported that the PcG protein Polycomblike (Pcl) interacts with E(z) in GST pull-down, yeast two-hybrid and co-immunoprecipitation assays (O'Connell, 2001; Tie, 2003). Like most other PcG proteins, Pcl has also been found to be bound at PREs in Drosophila (Tie, 2003; Papp, 2006). However, to date, no Pcl-containing complexes have been purified and the role of Pcl in PcG repression has remained enigmatic. This study reports the biochemical purification of Pcl complexes. Pcl is shown to exist in a stable complex with PRC2. This analyses demonstrate that this Pcl complex plays a critical role in generating high levels of repressive H3-K27 trimethylation at PcG target genes (Nekrasov, 2007).

Biochemically purified Pcl complexes contain Pcl together with the four core subunits of PRC2. In contrast, biochemically purified E(z) complexes contain only substoichiometric amounts of Pcl and the previously described purifications of PRC2 failed to reveal Pcl in the purified material (Cao, 2002; Czermin, 2002; Müller, 2002; Kuzmichev, 2002). Moreover, fractionation of crude nuclear extracts by gel filtration indicated that Pcl and PRC2 components Esc, E(z) and Su(z)12 co-fractionate in high-molecular-weight assemblies, but that the bulk of these other PRC2 components is present in lower-molecular-weight fractions that do not contain Pcl (O'Connell, 2001; Tie, 2003). Taken together, these observations suggest that only a fraction of PRC2 is associated with Pcl and that Pcl-PRC2 is a distinct complex (Nekrasov, 2007).

Previous X-ChIP studies showed that Pcl and Su(z)12 colocalize at Ubx and Abd-B PREs (Papp, 2006). This suggests that Pcl-PRC2 is bound at these PREs. In this study, the analysis of Drosophila mutants that lack Pcl protein and therefore lack Pcl-PRC2, provided insight into the function of this complex. The results provide strong evidence that Pcl-PRC2 is needed to generate high levels of H3-K27 trimethylation in the chromatin of PcG target genes. Unlike in E(z) or Su(z)12 mutants, removal of Pcl in embryos or in imaginal discs only reduces but does not eliminate H3-K27 trimethylation. Nevertheless, repression of several PcG target genes is abolished in Pcl mutants. This suggests that not only the mere presence of H3-K27me3, but presence of high levels of H3-K27me3 is crucial for maintaining these PcG target genes in the repressed state. Previous studies on the Ubx gene suggested that presence of H3-K27 trimethylation in the promoter and coding region is critical for PcG repression (Papp, 2006). One possibility would be that it is the overall density of H3-K27me3-marked nucleosomes across the promoter and coding region that determines whether a PcG target gene is repressed. Another possibility would be that even though a whole chromatin domain becomes trimethylated at H3-K27, only a few H3-K27me3-marked nucleosomes at a particular position (e.g., around the transcription start site) are actually required for repression, and failure to maintain this trimethylation results in loss of repression (Nekrasov, 2007).

The observation that Su(z)12 binding and H3-K27 trimethylation are reduced but not lost in the absence of Pcl is consistent with the idea that Pcl might help anchoring PRC2 to PREs, but it also suggests that at least some PRC2 must be targeted to PREs independently of Pcl. It seems likely that the residual H3-K27 trimethylation present in Pcl mutant embryos and in Pcl mutant clones in imaginal discs is generated by PRC2 that is bound at PREs independently of Pcl. In this context it is important to note that not only Pcl-PRC2 but also PRC2 is able to trimethylate H3-K27 in recombinant nucleosomes in vitro. Apart from the suggested role in tethering of PRC2 to PREs, it is possible that Pcl also functions in a post-recruitment step to help PRC2 generate high levels of H3-K27 trimethylation at target genes. For example, the tudor domain and PHD fingers of PRE-bound Pcl might interact with modified nucleosomes in the promoter and coding region of target genes to ensure that they become trimethylated at H3-K27 by the associated PRE-tethered PRC2 (Nekrasov, 2007).

Finally, no evidence was found that Pcl-PRC2 would be required for the genome-wide H3-K27 mono- and di-methylation. X-ChIP analyses suggest that H3-K27 mono- and dimethylation across the genome might even slightly increase in the absence of Pcl. In contrast, there is a loss of all H3-K27 methylation in either E(z) or Suz)12 mutants (Ebert, 2004). This suggests that PRC2 or another E(z)-containing complex generates the genome-wide H3-K27 mono- and dimethylation. The experiments in Pcl mutants thus allowed dissection of the role of different H3-K27 methylation states in Drosophila. The selective reduction of H3-K27me3 levels, and the concomitant loss of repression of PcG target genes in Pcl mutants, provides compelling evidence that only the trimethylated state of H3-K27 is functional in PcG repression in Drosophila. Pcl-PRC2 is evidently critically needed to generate the high levels of H3-K27 trimethylation that are required to maintain a Polycomb-repressed chromatin state (Nekrasov, 2007).

Recruitment of Drosophila Polycomb-group proteins by Polycomblike, a component of a novel protein complex in larvae

Polycomb-group (PcG) proteins are highly conserved epigenetic transcriptional repressors that play central roles in numerous examples of developmental gene regulation. Four PcG repressor complexes have been purified from Drosophila embryos: PRC1, PRC2, Pcl-PRC2 and PhoRC. Previous studies described a hierarchical recruitment pathway of PcG proteins at the bxd Polycomb Response Element (PRE) of the Ultrabithorax (Ubx) gene in larval wing imaginal discs. The DNA-binding proteins Pho and/or Phol are required for target site binding by PRC2, which in turn is required for chromosome binding by PRC1. This study identified a novel larval complex that contains the PcG protein Polycomblike (Pcl) that is distinct from PRC1 and PRC2 and which is also dependent on Pho and/or Phol for binding to the bxd PRE in wing imaginal discs. RNAi-mediated depletion of Pcl in larvae disrupts chromosome binding by E(z), a core component of PRC2, but Pcl does not require E(z) for chromosome binding. These results place the Pcl complex (PCLC) downstream of Pho and/or Phol and upstream of PRC2 and PRC1 in the recruitment hierarchy (Savla, 2008).

Drosophila Polycomb-group (PcG) genes were originally identified as negative regulators of Hox genes. PcG-mediated silencing in Drosophila occurs in essentially two broadly defined stages: assumption of transcriptional repression responsibilities from gene-specific transcription factors in early embryos, followed by maintenance of the silenced state through many cycles of cell division beginning in mid-late-stage embryos and continuing throughout the remainder of development (Savla, 2008).

Although much of the genetic analysis of PcG functions and studies of the mechanisms by which PcG proteins are targeted to specific genomic sites have focused on their activities in larval tissues, in vitro biochemical analyses have focused on PcG complexes isolated from embryos: PRC1, PRC2 and PhoRC. PRC1 possesses multiple chromatin modifying activities in vitro suggesting that it, among PcG complexes, might be most directly responsible for preventing transcription. The primary functions of PhoRC and PRC2 appear to be to recruit and/or stabilize target site binding by PRC1, and potentially other PcG proteins. PhoRC includes the DNA-binding PcG protein Pleiohomeotic (Pho), which binds to sites within Polycomb Response Elements (PREs) that serve as docking platforms for PcG proteins. Pho directly interacts with components of both PRC1 and PRC2, and is required for recruitment of both complexes (Mohd-Sarip, 2002; Mohd-Sarip, 2005; Wang, 2004). The E(z) subunit of PRC2 trimethylates histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me3), facilitating recruitment of PRC1 (Savla, 2008).

A variant of PRC2 has recently been described that includes the PcG protein Polycomblike (Pcl) (Nekrasov, 2007). On the basis of gel filtration analysis of native complexes in embryo nuclear extracts and the stoichiometry of the purified Pcl-PRC2 complex, it appears that the majority of embryonic Pcl is present in Pcl-PRC2, but that the other PRC2 core subunits, E(z), Su(z)12, Esc and NURF55 (also known as Caf1 - FlyBase), predominantly are in a complex(es) lacking Pcl (Nekrasov, 2007; O'Connell, 2001; Tie, 2003). It has been proposed that inclusion of Pcl in PRC2 is required for high levels of H3K27me3 in vivo, although the in vitro histone methyltransferase activity of Pcl-PRC2 is indistinguishable from that of PRC2 lacking Pcl (Nekrasov, 2007). In this study, a larval Pcl-containing complex is identified that is distinct from PRC2 and PRC1 and shown to be required for chromosome binding by these PcG complexes (Savla, 2008).

In order to examine potential differences between embryonic and larval stage PcG complexes, larval nuclear extracts were fractionated over a Superose 6 gel filtration column, and western blots of the fractions were probed with anti-E(z) and anti-Pcl antibodies. Larval E(z)-containing complexes have a relative mass of ~500 to 600 kDa, similar to that of embryonic PRC2 complexes that lack Pcl (Ng, 2000). However, Pcl was undetectable in E(z)-containing fractions and appeared to be in a complex with a relative mass of ~1500 kDa. This is different from the fractionation profile of Pcl from embryo extracts, in which it co-fractionates with E(z) in native complexes with relative mass estimates in the range of ~650 kDa (O'Connell, 2001) to 1000 kDa (Tie, 2003), suggesting that, unlike its association with a subset of PRC2 complexes in embryos, Pcl functions as a component of a distinct complex in larvae, which will be referred to as the Pcl-Complex (PCLC) (Savla, 2008).

In order to further investigate the relationship of Pcl with other PcG proteins and its role in PcG-mediated silencing in larvae, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays were performed on wing imaginal discs. The PcG maintains the transcriptional silence of the Hox gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx) in the epithelial cells of wing discs. Other PcG proteins, including the DNA-binding proteins Pho and Phol and components of the PRC1 and PRC2 complexes, have previously been shown to be present at the major PRE in the Ubx cis-regulatory bxd region in this tissue. Consistent with a previous report (Papp, 2006), Pcl also was detected at the bxd PRE, and appears to largely colocalize with E(z) and Phol (Savla, 2008).

A hierarchical relationship among PcG proteins at the bxd PRE in which Pho and/or Phol are required, but are not necessarily sufficient, for recruitment of PRC2, which in turn facilitates recruitment of PRC1 (Wang, 2004). In order to determine how Pcl might fit into this recruitment pathway, ChIP assays were performed on E(z) mutant wing imaginal discs. E(z)61 is a temperature-sensitive allele that displays nearly wild-type activity at 18°C, but strongly reduced activity at 29°C. Following shift from 18°C to 29°C, bxd PRE binding by E(z)61 protein is rapidly lost and along with it the detection of H3K27me3 and Pc in this region (Cao, 2002; Wang, 2004). ChIP assays of wing discs dissected from E(z)61 larvae 24 hours following shift from 18° to 29°C confirmed loss of E(z) from the PRE, but revealed no effect on Pcl and Phol binding to PRE fragments 3 and 4, but a slight decrease of both proteins at the PRE 2 fragment. It is speculated that Pcl and Phol signals at this proximal edge of the PRE are partly due to protein-protein cross-links, which might be reduced in the absence of PRC2. Retention of Pcl at the PRE in the absence of E(z) and by extension absence of PRC1, which requires PRC2 for binding to this region, confirms that Pcl is not a stable subunit of larval versions of either PRC1 or PRC2 and is consistent with its inclusion in a distinct complex (Savla, 2008).

Flies that are homozygous for null Pcl alleles die as embryos and no conditional Pcl alleles exist, precluding reciprocal experiments on Pcl mutant larvae. Therefore, transgenic fly lines were generated that contain inserts of a pWIZ-Pcl construct, which expresses Pcl shRNA under the control of Gal4, permitting inducible RNAi-mediated knockdown of Pcl in combination with Gal4 drivers. Individuals that contain both pWIZ-Pcl and P{GAL4-da.G32}, which constitutively expresses Gal4, died as early pupae and exhibited dramatically reduced levels of Pcl in wing imaginal discs. E(z) levels were not affected. ChIP assays of these Pcl-depleted wing discs confirmed reduced Pcl levels at the bxd PRE and revealed commensurate loss of E(z). Thus, although Pcl does not require PRC2 for PRE binding, Pcl, presumably functioning as a subunit of PCLC, is needed for stable binding of PRC2 to the bxd PRE. Phol remains at the PRE in the absence of Pcl (Savla, 2008).

In order to determine whether Pcl (like components of PRC1 and PRC2) requires Pho and/or Phol for PRE binding, ChIP assays were performed using wing imaginal discs from phol81A; pho1 larvae. Consistent with their role in recruiting other PcG proteins (Mohd-Sarip, 2002; Mohd-Sarip, 2005; Wang, 2004), Pcl was lost from the bxd PRE in the absence of Pho and Phol. These observations at the bxd PRE also appear to generally apply to PcG-binding sites throughout the genome (Savla, 2008).

These results demonstrate the existence of a distinct Pcl protein complex in larvae that is required for recruitment of PRC2 to chromosomal target sites and/or to stabilize its binding. As previously described, E(z), as a core subunit of PRC2, is required for target site binding by PRC1 (Cao, 2002; Wang, 2004). Therefore, Pcl is indirectly required for chromosome binding by PRC1 as well, although direct interaction with PRC1 cannot be ruled out, similar to the way in which Pho may contribute to target site binding by PRC1 by interacting both with PRC2 subunits (Wang, 2004) and with Pc, a core subunit of PRC1 (Mohd-Sarip, 2002; Mohd-Sarip, 2005; Savla, 2008 and references therein).

In vitro histone methyltransferase assays of Pcl-PRC2 show that its activity and specificity for methylation of H3K27 are essentially indistinguishable from that of PRC2 complexes lacking Pcl. ChIP analysis of Pcl mutant embryos has shown that Pcl does not seem to be required for target site binding by other PRC2 subunits, but that it may be needed for high levels of trimethylation of H3K27 (Nekrasov, 2007). One explanation for these observations is that the contribution of Pcl to Pcl-PRC2 in embryos might be to mediate interaction with other proteins that are yet to be identified. In larvae, Pcl exists as a subunit of a distinct complex. Given the ability of Pcl to directly interact with several PRC2 subunits (Nekrasov, 2007; O'Connell, 2001), colocalization of Pcl and E(z) at the PRE (Papp, 2006), and dependence of E(z) on Pcl for binding to the bxd PRE and other genomic sites, it is likely that PCLC is closely associated with PRC2 at target sites in larvae. In both embryos and larvae, some of the activities attributed to Pcl might, upon further inspection, be due to the activities of other Pcl-associated proteins, the close apposition of which with PRC2 and other PcG complexes may be mediated by Pcl. The differential deployment of Pcl as a subunit of PRC2 and as a subunit of PCLC at distinct developmental stages is intriguing and might reflect the different molecular activities needed for establishment of silencing in embryos and maintenance of the silenced state in larval tissues. A more detailed understanding of the mechanisms by which Pcl contributes to PcG silencing will require identification of the other proteins contained within the larval PCLC complex and the potential biochemical activities of the complex (Savla, 2008).

Histone trimethylation and the maintenance of transcriptional ON and OFF states by trxG and PcG proteins

Polycomb group (PcG) and trithorax group (trxG) proteins act as antagonistic regulators to maintain transcriptional OFF and ON states of HOX and other target genes. To study the molecular basis of PcG/trxG control, the chromatin of the HOX gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx) was analyzed in UbxOFF and UbxONcells purified from developing Drosophila. PcG protein complexes PhoRC, PRC1, and PRC2 and the Trx protein are all constitutively bound to Polycomb response elements (PREs) in the OFF and ON state. In contrast, the trxG protein Ash1 is only bound in the ON state; not at PREs but downstream of the transcription start site. In the OFF state, extensive trimethylation was found at H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20 across the entire Ubx gene; i.e., throughout the upstream control, promoter, and coding region. In the ON state, the upstream control region is also trimethylated at H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20, but all three modifications are absent in the promoter and 5' coding region. These analyses of mutants that lack the PcG histone methyltransferase (HMTase) E(z) or the trxG HMTase Ash1 provide strong evidence that differential histone lysine trimethylation at the promoter and in the coding region confers transcriptional ON and OFF states of Ubx. In particular, these results suggest that PRE-tethered PcG protein complexes act over long distances to generate Pc-repressed chromatin that is trimethylated at H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20, but that the trxG HMTase Ash1 selectively prevents this trimethylation in the promoter and coding region in the ON state (Papp, 2006; Full text of article).

Previous studies have shown that PhoRC contains the DNA-binding PcG protein Pho that targets the complex to PREs, and dSfmbt, a novel PcG protein that selectively binds to histone H3 and H4 tail peptides that are mono- or dimethylated at H3-K9 or H4-K20 (H3-K9me1/2 and H4-K20me1/2, respectively) (Klymenko, 2006). PRC1 contains the PcG proteins Ph, Psc, Sce/Ring, and Pc. PRC1 inhibits nucleosome remodeling and transcription in in-vitro assays and its subunit Pc specifically binds to trimethylated K27 in histone H3 (H3-K27me3). PRC2 contains the PcG proteins E(z), Su(z)12, and Esc as well as Nurf55, and this complex functions as a histone methyltransferase (HMTase) that specifically methylates K27 in histone H3 (H3-K27) in nucleosomes (Papp, 2006).

This study used quantitative X-ChIP analysis to examine the chromatin of the HOX gene Ubx in its ON and OFF state in developing Drosophila larvae. Previous genetic studies had established that all of the PcG and trxG proteins analyzed in this study are critically needed to maintain Ubx OFF and ON states in the very same imaginal disc cells in which their binding to Ubx was analyzed in this study. The following conclusions can be drawn from the analyses reported in this study. (1) The PcG protein complexes PhoRC, PRC1, and PRC2 (recognized using antibodies against Su(z)12 and Pcl) and the Trx protein are all highly localized at PREs, but they are all constitutively bound at comparable levels in the OFF and ON state. (2) The trxG protein Ash1 is bound only in the ON state, where it is specifically localized ~1 kb downstream of the transcription start site. (3) In the OFF state, PRC2 and other unknown HMTases trimethylate H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20 over an extended 100-kb domain that spans the whole Ubx gene. (4) In the ON state, comparable H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20 trimethylation is restricted to the upstream control regions and Ash1 selectively prevents this trimethylation in the promoter and coding region. (5) Repressed Ubx chromatin is extensively tri- but not di- or monomethylated at H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20. (6) Trimethylation of H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20 at imaginal disc enhancers in the upstream control region does not impair the function of these enhancers in the ON state. (7) TBP and Spt5 are bound at the Ubx transcription start site in the ON and OFF state, but Kis is only bound in the ON state. This suggests that in the OFF state, transcription is blocked at a late step of transcriptional initiation, prior to the transition to elongation. A schematic representation of PcG and trxG protein complex binding and histone methylation at the Ubx gene in the OFF and ON state is presented (Papp, 2006).

Unexpectedly, ChIP analysis by qPCR used in this study and in a similar study by the laboratory of Vincent Pirrotta (V. Pirrotta, pers. comm. to Papp, 2006) reveals that the relationship between PcG and trxG proteins and histone methylation is quite different from the currently held views. Specifically, X-ChIP studies have reported that H3-K27 trimethylation is localized at PREs and this led to the model that recruitment of PRC1 to PREs occurs through H3-K27me3 (i.e., via the Pc chromodomain). In contrast, the current study and that by Vincent Pirrotta found H3-K27 trimethylation to be present across the whole inactive Ubx gene, both in wing discs and in S2 cells (V. Pirrotta, pers. comm. to Papp, 2006). No specific enrichment of H3-K27 trimethylation at PREs has been detected; rather, a reduction of H3-K27me3 signals is observed at PREs, consistent with the reduced signals of H3 that are detected at these sites. Consistent with these results, genome-wide analyses of PcG protein binding and H3-K27me3 profiles in S2 cells revealed that, at most PcG-binding sites in the genome, PcG proteins are tightly localized, whereas H3-K27 trimethylation is typically present across an extended domain that often spans the whole coding region. How could the differences between this study and the earlier studies be explained? It should be noted that in contrast to the qPCR analysis used in the current study, previous studies all relied on nonquantitative end-point PCR after 36 or more cycles to assess the X-ChIP results. It is possible that these experimental differences account for the discrepancies (Papp, 2006).

PhoRC, PRC1, and PRC2 are all tightly localized at PREs but they are all constitutively bound at the inactive and active Ubx gene. This suggests that recruitment of PcG complexes to PREs occurs by default. Although all three complexes are bound at comparable levels to the bxd PRE in the inactive and active state and PhoRC is also bound at comparable levels at the bx PRE, it should be pointed out that the levels of PRC1 and PRC2 binding at the bx PRE are about twofold reduced in the active Ubx gene compared with the inactive Ubx gene. Even though there is still high-level binding of PRC1 and PRC2 at the bx PRE, it cannot be excluded that the observed reduction in binding helps to prevent default PcG repression of the active Ubx gene. It is possible that transcription through the bx PRE reduces PRC1 and PRC2 binding at this PRE. Transcription through PREs has been proposed to serve as an 'anti-silencing' mechanism that prevents default silencing of active genes by PREs (Papp, 2006),

The highly localized binding of all three PcG protein complexes at PREs, together with earlier studies on PRE targeting of PcG protein complexes supports the idea that not only PhoRC but also PRC1 and PRC2 are targeted to PRE DNA through interactions with Pho and/or other sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins. In the case of trxG proteins, the binding modes are more diverse. In particular, recruitment of Trx protein to PREs and to the promoter is also constitutive in both states but recruitment of Ash1 to the coding region is clearly observed only at the active Ubx gene. At present, it is not known how Trx or Ash1 are targeted to these sites. It is possible that a transcription-coupled process recruits Ash1 to the position 1 kb downstream of the transcription start site (Papp, 2006).

In contrast to the localized and constitutive binding of PcG protein complexes and the Trx protein, it was found that the patterns of histone trimethylation are very distinct in the active and inactive Ubx gene. The results also suggest that the locally bound PcG and trxG HMTases act across different distances to methylate chromatin. For example, H3-K4 trimethylation is confined to the first kilobase of the Ubx coding region where Ash1 and Trx are bound, whereas H3-K27 trimethylation is present across an extended 100-kb domain of chromatin that spans the whole Ubx gene. This suggests that PRE-tethered PRC2 is able to trimethylate H3-K27 in nucleosomes that are as far as 30 kb away from the bxd or bx PREs. Unexpectedly, it was found that the H3-K9me3 and H4-K20me3 profiles closely match the H3-K27me3 profile. At present it is not known which HMTases are responsible for H3-K9 and H4-K20 trimethylation, but analysis of E(z) mutants indicate that these modifications may be generated in a sequential manner, following H3-K27 trimethylation by PRC2. The molecular mechanisms that permit locally tethered HMTases such as PRE-bound PRC2 to maintain such extended chromatin stretches in a trimethylated state are only poorly understood. However, a recent study showed that the PhoRC subunit dSfmbt selectively binds to mono- and dimethylated H3-K9 and H4-K20 in peptide-binding assays (Klymenko. 2006). One possibility would be that dSfmbt participates in the process that ensures that repressed Ubx chromatin is trimethylated at H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20. For example, dSfmbt, tethered to PREs by Pho, may interact with nucleosomes of lower methylated states (i.e., H3-K9me1/2 or H4-K20me1/2) in the flanking chromatin and thereby bring them into the vicinity of PRE-anchored HMTases that will hypermethylate them to the trimethylated state (Papp, 2006).

These analyses suggest that H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20 trimethylation in the promoter and coding region is critical for Polycomb repression. (1) Although H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20 trimethylation is present at the inactive and active Ubx gene, it is specifically depleted in the promoter and coding region in the active Ubx gene. (2) Misexpression of Ubx in wing discs with impaired E(z) activity correlates well with loss of H3-K27 and H3-K9 trimethylation at the promoter and 5' coding region. It is possible that the persisting H3-K27 and H3-K9 trimethylation in the 3' coding region is responsible for maintenance of repression in those E(z) mutant wing discs cells that do not show misexpression of Ubx. (3) In haltere and third-leg discs of ash1 mutants, the promoter and coding region become extensively trimethylated at H3-K27 and H3-K9, and this correlates with loss of Ubx expression. Previous studies showed that Ubx expression is restored in ash1 mutants cells that also lack E(z) function. Together, these findings therefore provide strong evidence that Ash1 is required to prevent PRC2 and other HMTases from trimethylating the promoter and coding region at H3-K27 and H3-K9. The loss of H3-K4 trimethylation in ash1 mutants is formally consistent with the idea that Ash1 exerts its antirepressor function by trimethylating H3-K4 in nucleosomes in the promoter and 5' coding region, but other explanations are possible (Papp, 2006).

But how might H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20 trimethylation in the promoter and coding region repress transcription? The observation that TBP and Spt5 are also bound to the promoter in the OFF state suggests that these methylation marks do not prevent assembly of the basic transcription apparatus at the promoter. However, the nucleosome remodeling factor Kis is not recruited in the OFF state, and transcription thus appears to be blocked at a late step of transcriptional intiation prior to elongation. It was found that the low-level binding of Pc in the coding region correlates with the presence of H3-K27 trimethylation; i.e., Pc and H3-K27me3 are both present in the OFF state, but are absent in the ON state. One possible scenario would thus be that H3-K27 trimethylation in the promoter and coding region permits direct recruitment of PRC1. According to this view, locally recruited PRC1 would then repress transcription; e.g., by inhibiting nucleosome remodeling in the promoter region. However, several observations are not easily reconciled with such a simple 'recruitment-by-methylation' model. First, peak levels of all PRC1 components are present at PREs and, apart from Pc, very little binding is observed outside of PREs. Second, excision of PRE sequences from a PRE reporter gene during development leads to a rapid loss of silencing, suggesting that transcriptional repression requires the continuous presence of PREs and the proteins that are bound to them. A second, more plausible scenario would therefore be that DNA-binding factors first target PcG protein complexes to PREs, and that these PRE-tethered complexes then interact with trimethylated nucleosomes in the flanking chromatin in order to repress transcription. For example, it is possible that bridging interactions between the Pc chromodomain in PRE-tethered PRC1 and H3-K27me3-marked chromatin in the promoter or coding region permit other PRE-tethered PcG proteins to recognize the chromatin interval across which they should act, e.g., to inhibit nucleosome remodeling in the case of PRC1 or to trimethylate H3-K27 at hypomethylated nucleosomes in the case of PRC2 (Papp, 2006).

The analysis of a HOX gene in developing Drosophila suggests that histone trimethylation at H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20 in the promoter and coding region plays a central role in generating and maintaining of a PcG-repressed state. Contrary to previous reports, the current findings provide no evidence that H3-K27 trimethylation is specifically localized at PREs and could thus recruit PRC1 to PREs; widespread H3-K27 trimethylation is found across the whole transcription unit. The data presented in this study provide evidence that PREs serve as assembly platforms for PcG protein complexes such as PRC2 that act over considerable distances to trimethylate H3-K27 across long stretches of chromatin. The presence of this trimethylation mark in the chromatin that flanks PREs may in turn serve as a signal to define the chromatin interval that is targeted by other PRE-tethered PcG protein complexes such as PRC1. The results reported here also provide a molecular explanation for the previously reported antirepressor function of trxG HMTases; selective binding of Ash1 to the active HOX gene blocks PcG repression by preventing PRC2 from trimethylating the promoter and coding region. It is possible that the extended domain of combined H3-K27, H3-K9, and H4-K20 trimethylation creates not only the necessary stability for transcriptional repression, but that it also provides the molecular marks that permits PcG repression to be heritably maintained through cell division (Papp, 2006).

Polycomblike PHD fingers mediate conserved interaction with enhancer of zeste protein

The products of Polycomb group (PcG) genes are required for the epigenetic repression of a number of important developmental regulatory genes, including homeotic genes. Enhancer of zeste [E(Z)] is a Drosophila PcG protein that binds directly to another PcG protein, Extra Sex Combs (ESC), and is present along with ESC in a 600-kDa complex in Drosophila embryos. Using yeast two-hybrid and in vitro binding assays, it was shown that E(Z) binds directly to another PcG protein, Polycomblike (PCL). PCL.E(Z) interaction is shown to be mediated by the plant homeodomain (PHD) fingers domain of PCL, providing evidence that this motif can act as an independent protein interaction domain. An association was also observed between PHF1 and EZH2, human homologs of PCL and E(Z), respectively, demonstrating the evolutionary conservation of this interaction. E(Z) was found to not interact with the PHD domains of three Drosophila trithorax group (trxG) proteins, which function to maintain the transcriptional activity of homeotic genes, providing evidence for the specificity of the interaction of E(Z) with the PCL PHD domain. Coimmunoprecipitation and gel filtration experiments demonstrate in vivo association of PCL with E(Z) and ESC in Drosophila embryos. The implications of PCL association with ESC.E(Z) complexes is discussed and the possibility that PCL may either be a subunit of a subset of ESC.E(Z) complexes or a subunit of a separate complex that interacts with ESC.E(Z) complexes (O'Connell, 2001; full text of article).

Differentiating Drosophila female germ cells initiate Polycomb silencing by regulating PRC2-interacting proteins

Polycomb silencing represses gene expression and provides a molecular memory of chromatin state that is essential for animal development. This study shows that Drosophila female germline stem cells (GSCs) provide a powerful system for studying Polycomb silencing. GSCs have a non-canonical distribution of PRC2 activity and lack silenced chromatin like embryonic progenitors. As GSC daughters differentiate into nurse cells and oocytes, nurse cells, like embryonic somatic cells, silence genes in traditional Polycomb domains and in generally inactive chromatin. Developmentally controlled expression of two Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2)-interacting proteins, Pcl and Scm, initiate silencing during differentiation. In GSCs, abundant Pcl inhibits PRC2-dependent silencing globally, while in nurse cells Pcl declines and newly induced Scm concentrates PRC2 activity on traditional Polycomb domains. These results suggest that PRC2-dependent silencing is developmentally regulated by accessory proteins that either increase the concentration of PRC2 at target sites or inhibit the rate that PRC2 samples chromatin (DeLuca, 2020).

The work described here shows that the Drosophila female germline has multiple advantages for studying the developmental regulation of chromatin silencing both before and during differentiation. Female GSCs continuously divide to produce new undifferentiated progenitors, which expand and differentiate into nurse cells or oocytes, generating large amounts of a much simpler tissue than a developing embryo. Additionally, an inducible reporter assay compatible with the female germline was developed that sensitively responds to developmental changes in local chromatin repression in individual cells. In contrast to RNAseq, which measures steady state RNA levels, or ChIPseq, which correlates chromatin epitopes with their perceived function on gene expression, the reporters directly test how local chromatin influences the inducibility of surrounding genes, and are easily combined with tissue specific knockdowns to identify trans-acting factors contributing to reporter inducibility. Finally, a genetic engineering approach allows any construct (not just hsGFP) to be efficiently integrated into many pre-existing 'donor' sites, including those used previously with other reporters, or sites heavily silenced by repressive chromatin in differentiated cells. Although the number of different donor sites in certain types of chromatin is currently limited, new sites continue to be generated using CRISPR/Cas9 targeting and the method can ultimately be applied virtually anywhere in the genome (DeLuca, 2020).

Analysis of Polycomb repression with reporters, ChIP, and PcG-gene knockdowns provided numerous insights into how chromatin affects gene expression and female germline development in Drosophila. GSCs, the precursors of oocytes and nurse cells, contain a non-canonical, binary distribution of moderate H3K27me3 enrichment on all transcriptionally inactive loci and very low enrichment on active chromatin. A similar non-canonical H3K27me3 distribution was observed in early fly embryos, suggesting that noncanonical chromatin represents a 'ground state' for progenitors that will propagate future generations of undifferentiated germ cells or somatic cells that differentiate into specialized tissues. Such non-canonical chromatin was first identified in mouse oocytes and preimplantation embryos. If non-canonical H3K27me3 chromatin is a characteristic of undifferentiated, totipotent cells, what function might it confer to account for its conservation (DeLuca, 2020)?

Experiments confirmed previous workshowing that chromatin modified by PRC2 is essential for the Drosophila female germ cell cycle. Germline cysts lacking PRC2 are unable to stably generate oocytes, and E(z) GermLine-specific RNAi Knock Down (GLKD) nurse cells mis-express multiple genes and degenerate at about stage 5. In contrast, GSCs lacking PRC2 properly populate their niche, divide, and produce daughters that interact with female follicle cells and begin nurse cell differentiation. Removing PRC2 activity from GSCs did not generally increase the steady state abundance of genes or the inducibility of reporters in H3K27me3-enriched inactive or PcG domains. These results suggest that PRC2 and non-canonical chromatin lack vital functions in undifferentiated germline progenitors but are critical for repressing genes upon differentiation. However, a requirement for PRC2 or non-canonical chromatin under stress conditions or prolonged aging cannot be dismissed. For example, PRC2 could promote the long-term maintenance of female GSCs, similarly to how it maintains male germline progenitors in flies and mice (DeLuca, 2020).

Germline cysts and nurse cells are found in diverse animal species across the entire phylogenetic spectrum, but their function has been well studied mostly in insects such as Drosophila where they persist throughout most of oogenesis. While nurse cells have traditionally been considered germ cells rather than late-differentiating somatic cells, this study shows that that Drosophila nurse cells initiate Polycomb silencing and enrich PRC2 activity on a nearly identical collection of PcG domains as somatic cells. In more distant species, such as mice, nurse cells initially develop in a similar manner within germline cysts and contribute their cytoplasm to oocytes, but undergo programmed cell death before the vast majority of oocyte growth. Consequently, it remains an open question whether somatic differentiation plays a role in nurse cell function in mammals and many other groups (DeLuca, 2020).

The size and composition of oocyte cytoplasm are uniquely tailored to promote optimal fecundity and meet the demands of early development. In some species, including flies, nurse cells synthesize large amounts of specialized ooplasm to rapidly produce multitudes of large, pre-patterned embryos. In others, including mammals, oocytes more slowly synthesize the majority of ooplasm. Interestingly, both ooplasm synthesis strategies apparently require Polycomb silencing. However, the nurse cell-based strategy in flies primarily requires PRC2 but not PRC1 to silence hundreds of somatic genes, while the oocyte-based strategy in mice requires PRC1 but not PRC2 (DeLuca, 2020).

Different strategies of ooplasm synthesis may have evolved to be compatible with noncanonical germ cell chromatin. Staining experiments show that Drosophila oocytes maintain a widely distributed, non-canonical H3K27me3 distribution similar to pre-meiotic precursors or mouse oocytes, suggesting that non-canonical chromatin is conserved and maintained throughout the germ cell cycle. Similar to mouse oocytes, Drosophila spermatocytes also contain non-canonical chromatin and autonomously synthesize large amounts of cytoplasm by deploying PRC1 but not PRC2. Thus, three different types of germ cells are filled with large amounts of differentiated cytoplasm that requires Polycomb silencing for its synthesis, but nevertheless maintain a non-canonical, silencing-deficient PRC2 activity (DeLuca, 2020).

The conservation of undifferentiated, non-canonical chromatin despite a strong selection for Polycomb silencing during ooplasm synthesis argues that non-canonical chromatin must have a presently unappreciated fundamental purpose in germ cells. Noncanonical chromatin could regulate multigenerational processes like mutation, recombination, or transposition, that are not easily assayed in sterile individuals. Tests of these ideas will require a better understanding of how non-canonical chromatin is regulated and methods to disrupt non-canonical chromatin without disrupting other functions required for germline viability. Additionally, non-canonical chromatin could simply result from the silencing- incompetent PRC2 that was observed in progenitors (DeLuca, 2020).

Pcl was uncovered as both an inhibitor of PRC2 silencing and promoter of non-canonical chromatin in GSCs. PclGLKD dramatically altered the footprint of PRC2 activity in GSCs. PclGLKD favored H3K27me3 enrichment on PREs versus inactive domains, and increased the total amount of H3K27me1 by 13-fold and H3K27me2 by 1.4-fold and decreased the total amount of H3K27me3 by 1.8 fold. By binding DNA through its winged-helix domain, Pcl triples PRC2's residence time on chromatin and promotes higher states of H3K27 methylation in vitro. In GSCs, Pcl could simply change the result of each PRC2-chromatin binding event from H3K27me1 to me3. However, it is hard to imagine how an equivalent number of nucleosomes bearing a higher H3K27 methylation state could explain how Pcl inhibits silencing. Instead, it is proposed that Pcl inhibits silencing by reducing the number of PRC2-chomatin binding events per unit time by increasing the residence time of PRC2 on chromatin with each binding event. In this model, PclGLKD would not only convert many H3K27me3 nucleosomes into H3K27me1 nucleosomes, it would also convert many unmethylated nucleosomes into H3K27me1 nucleosomes. PclGLKD would more subtly affect H3K27me2 abundance because it simultaneously increases the number of PRC2-chromatin binding events while reducing the probability of each binding event leading to H3K27me2 versus me1 (DeLuca, 2020).

By reducing the number of PRC2 binding events, Pcl could increase the abundance of unmethylated H3K27 residues available for acetylation - a transcription promoting modification. In both flies and mammals, PRC2 transiently associates with chromatin to mono- and dimethylate H3K27 outside of traditional PcG domains, blocking H3K27 acetylation and antagonizing transcription. This study similarly found strong and widespread PRC2-dependent silencing in H3K27me1/2 enriched chromatin in nurse cells. Because inactive domain silencing was not affected by depletion of Pcl, Jarid2, or H3K27me3, it is proposed that core-PRC2, but not Pcl-PRC2 or H3K27me3, primarily silences inactive chromatin (DeLuca, 2020).

In GSCs, abundant Pcl could saturate PRC2, effectively depleting faster-sampling core-PRC2 complexes in favor of slower sampling Pcl-PRC2. In somatic embryonic cells, Pcl is present in a small fraction of PRC2 complexes. Compared to other fly tissues, Pcl mRNA is most abundant in the ovary, and within the ovary, Pcl protein is much more abundant in GSCs and nurse cell precursors than differentiated nurse cells and somatic cells. Within each differentiated germline cyst, Pcl mRNA is depleted from nurse cells and enriched in oocytes, suggesting that Pcl protein levels may be regulated by an mRNA transport mechanism induced in region 2 that also triggers the differentiation of oocytes from nurse cells (DeLuca, 2020).

Pcl, and a second PRC2-interacting protein, Scm, regulate the transition from noncanonical to canonical chromatin and initiate Polycomb repression. During nurse cell differentiation, it is proposed that Pcl depletion frees core-PRC2 to rapidly sample and silence inactive domains, while Scm (which is absent from the GSC) induction recruits high levels of PRC1 and PRC2 activity around PREs. ScmGLKD nurse cell chromatin retained a noncanonical H3K27me3 pattern characteristic of GSCs, as if differentiation at PcG domains had not occurred. In mice, Scm homologue, Scml2, similarly associates with PcG domains to recruit PRC1/2 and silence PcG targets during male germline development. However, unlike its fly orthologue in female GSCs, Scml2 is expressed in male germline precursors. This difference could explain why mammalian PGCs partially enrich PRC2 activity on CGIs while fly female GSCs do not enrich PRC2 on specific sites. While PcG domain-associated Scm is sufficient to enrich PRC2 activity above background levels found throughout inactive chromatin, a second PRC2 interacting protein, Pcl, is additionally required to promote full PRC2 and H3K27me3 enrichment on PcG domains. Because Scm oligomerizes and interacts with PRC2 in vitro, it could form an array of PRC2 binding sites anchored to PREs through Sfmbt. It is proposed that two cooperative interactions, PRC2 with PRE-tethered Scm, and Pcl with DNA, preferentially concentrate H3K27me3-generating Pcl-PRC2 versus H3K27me1/2-generating core-PRC2 on PcG domains (Figure 6D). H3K27me3 could then be further enriched by H3K27me3-induced allosteric PRC2 activation through the Esc subunit (DeLuca, 2020).

By promoting PRC1 and PRC2 concentration on PcG domains, Scm enhances silencing on PcG-localized reporters. While Scm-depleted nurse cells completed oogenesis, a subset of PcG domain-localized PcG including chinmo and the posterior Hox gene, Abd-b, escaped repression and were potentially loaded into embryos. Eggs derived from ScmGLKD nurse cells failed to hatch, and mis-expressed Abd-b in anterior segments following germ band elongation. This defect more closely resembled maternal plus zygotic than maternal-only Scm mutants, suggesting that ScmGLKD may deplete both maternal and zygotic Scm (DeLuca, 2020).

However, the additional possibility that mis-regulation of maternal Polycomb targets like chinmo contribute to the subtle embryonic defects observed in maternal-only Scm mutant clones cannot be excluded (DeLuca, 2020).

Further study of the Polycomb-mediated repression described in this study will help define the gene regulation program of Drosophila nurse cells and its contribution to oocyte growth. Additional characterization and perturbation of non-canonical chromatin throughout the germ cell cycle will yield further insights into its function in development. Finally, incorporating studies of other chromatin modifications, including H3K9me3-based repression, during germ cell development will contribute to a fuller understanding of how chromatin contributes to an immortal cell lineage (DeLuca, 2020).

A 1-megadalton ESC/E(Z) complex from Drosophila that contains polycomblike and RPD3

Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are required to maintain stable repression of the homeotic genes and others throughout development. The PcG proteins ESC and E(Z) are present in a prominent 600-kDa complex as well as in a number of higher-molecular-mass complexes. A 1-MDa ESC/E(Z) complex has been identified and characterized that is distinguished from the 600-kDa complex by the presence of the PcG protein Polycomblike (PCL) and the histone deacetylase RPD3. In addition, the 1-MDa complex shares with the 600-kDa complex the histone binding protein p55 and the PcG protein SU(Z)12. Coimmunoprecipitation assays performed on embryo extracts and gel filtration column fractions indicate that, during embryogenesis E(Z), SU(Z)12, and p55 are present in all ESC complexes, while PCL and RPD3 are associated with ESC, E(Z), SU(Z)12, and p55 only in the 1-MDa complex. Glutathione transferase pulldown assays demonstrate that RPD3 binds directly to PCL via the conserved PHD fingers of PCL and the N terminus of RPD3. PCL and E(Z) colocalize virtually completely on polytene chromosomes and are associated with a subset of RPD3 sites. As shown for E(Z) and RPD3, PCL and SU(Z)12 are also recruited to the insertion site of a minimal Ubx Polycomb response element transgene in vivo. Consistent with these biochemical and cytological results, Rpd3 mutations enhance the phenotypes of Pcl mutants, further indicating that RPD3 is required for PcG silencing and possibly for PCL function. These results suggest that there may be multiple ESC/E(Z) complexes with distinct functions in vivo (Tie, 2003; full text of article).

Jarid2 and PRC2, partners in regulating gene expression

The Polycomb group proteins foster gene repression profiles required for proper development and unimpaired adulthood, and comprise the components of the Polycomb-Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) including the histone H3 Lys 27 (H3K27) methyltransferase Ezh2. How mammalian PRC2 accesses chromatin is unclear. This study found Jarid2 (see Drosophila Jarid2) associates with PRC2 and stimulates its enzymatic activity in vitro. Jarid2 contains a Jumonji C domain, but is devoid of detectable histone demethylase activity. Instead, its artificial recruitment to a promoter in vivo resulted in corecruitment of PRC2 with resultant increased levels of di- and trimethylation of H3K27 (H3K27me2/3). Jarid2 colocalizes with Ezh2 and MTF2, a homolog of Drosophila Pcl, at endogenous genes in embryonic stem (ES) cells. Jarid2 can bind DNA and its recruitment in ES cells is interdependent with that of PRC2, as Jarid2 knockdown reduced PRC2 at its target promoters, and ES cells devoid of the PRC2 component EED are deficient in Jarid2 promoter access. In addition to the well-documented defects in embryonic viability upon down-regulation of Jarid2, ES cell differentiation is impaired, as is Oct4 silencing (Li, 2010).

Since the first characterization of the PRC2 core complex, the subsequent, persuasive evidence supports that PRC2 is actually a family of complexes whose composition varies during development, as a function of cell type, or even from one promoter to another. This study identified two new components that interact with PRC2: MTF2 and Jarid2. These analyses of the proteins that interact with the PRC2 complex initiated with transformed cells. Yet it has become clear that interactions observed using transformed cells might be specific to such cells, and not a determinant to the integrity of a normal organism. Thus, studies of a developmentally relevant process was incorporated and it was confirmed that the interactions observed between PRC2 and Jarid2 were of consequence to the developmental program (Li, 2010).

MTF2 is a paralog of Drosophila Pcl. PHF1, another mammalian paralog of Pcl, is required for efficient H3K27me3 and gene silencing in HeLa cells. Although PHF1 appears dispensable for PRC2 recruitment in HeLa cells, work in Drosophila has suggested that the absence of Pcl could impair PRC2 gene targeting. It is possible that the other paralogs of Pcl (MTF2 and PHF19) exhibit a role that is partially redundant with PHF1 function and thereby maintain PRC2 recruitment upon its knockdown. Pcl and its mammalian paralogs contain two PHD domains and a tudor domain, domains reported to potentially recognize methylated histones. Although the ability of Pcl to specifically bind modified histone has not been elucidated to date, it is tempting to speculate that the PHD and tudor domains could target Pcl to specific chromatin regions. Its presence would then stabilize PRC2 recruitment and promote its enzymatic activity. In support of this hypothesis, it was observed that, whereas Ezh2 targeting is severely impaired in Eed-/- ES cells, MTF2 recruitment is affected in a promoter-dependent manner and to a lesser extent than that of Ezh2. This observation suggests that MTF2 gene targeting could be partially independent of PRC2 (Li, 2010).

The exact function of Jarid2 is more enigmatic. Indeed, Jarid2 is a member of a family of enzymes capable of demethylating histones. However, Jarid2 is devoid of the amino acids required for iron and αKG binding, and consequently is unable to catalyze this reaction. It is considered that Jarid2 could act as a dominant negative and inhibit the activity of other histone demethylases; however, coexpression of Jarid2 with, for instance, SMCX did not affect H3K4me3 demethylation. Jarid2 has two domains that could potentially bind DNA: the ARID domain and a zinc finger. Although the ARID domain of Jarid2 was reported to bind DNA, band shift assay suggests that other parts of the Jarid2 C terminus (potentially a zinc finger) are also important for binding to DNA. The SELEX experiment performed with the full-length Jarid2 did not allow identification of any sequence-specific DNA binding, but did result in a slight enrichment of GC-rich DNA sequences. Importantly, it was found that the N-terminal part of Jarid2 could robustly stimulate PRC2-Ezh2 enzymatic activity on nucleosomes. A knockdown of Jarid2 decreased the enrichment of PRC2 at its target genes. Conversely, overexpression of a Gal4-Jarid2 chimera recruited PRC2 at a stably integrated reporter and increased PRC2 enrichment at its target genes, supporting the hypothesis that Jarid2 contributes to PRC2 recruitment (Li, 2010).

In the case of Drosophila, PRE (Polycomb group response element) sequences have been described, and PRC2 access to chromatin is expected to involve the concerted action of several distinct and specific DNA-binding proteins that interact directly or indirectly with PRC2. However, these same DNA-binding factors, or even a combination thereof, are also found at active genes devoid of PRC2. What distinguishes PRE sequences harboring PRC2 from active genes is still not clear. During the evolution from Drosophila to mammals, only a few of the DNA-binding factors that bind PREs (Dsp1 and Pho) are conserved. Either PRC2 recruitment in mammals involves other mechanisms, or distinct transcription factors have emerged to stabilize PRC2 at its target genes. A recent study has identified a presumed mammalian PRE; however, the role of this putative PRE at the endogenous locus that is enriched for PRC2 is not reproduced when the element is integrated upstream of a transgene, as PRC2 is absent. Of note, whereas DNA-binding proteins are likely to play an important role for PRC2 recruitment in mammals, some studies have now suggested that long noncoding RNA could also be involved in this process. These observations together suggest that the recruitment of PRC2 to target genes is complex and requires more than one factor. These findings suggest that the DNA-binding activity of Jarid2 is one such factor, but its affinity for DNA is low and likely requires the help of other factors (Li, 2010).

A critical issue at this juncture is whether or not the composition of PRC2 changes during development. This study reports that Jarid2 interacts with PRC2, but its expression, unlike the PRC2 core components, seems to be restricted to some cell lines. In agreement with previous gene expression profiles that monitored mRNA levels during the reprogramming of mouse embryonic fibroblast cells into ES cells, it is observed that Jarid2 expression is higher in undifferentiated ES cells and decreases upon differentiation. Polycomb target genes are enriched with the H2A variant H2A.Z in undifferentiated ES cells; furthermore, H2A.Z and PRC2 targeting are interdependent in these cells. This result suggests that PRC2 recruitment might involve distinct mechanisms in ES cells and differentiated cells. It is possible that Jarid2 somehow contributes to this specificity (Li, 2010).

Knockdown of Jarid2 in undifferentiated ES cells does not give rise to an obvious phenotype; gene expression patterns appear to be only moderately affected, and cell proliferation is unchanged. In contrast, when cells are induced to differentiate, a process that entails dramatic changes in gene expression, impairments were observed as a function of Jarid2 knockdown. Interference with Jarid2 resulted in a failure to accurately coordinate the expression of genes required for the differentiation process, consistent with the previous report on Suz12 knockout cells. Instead of the requisite silencing of OCT4 and Nanog loci that occurs upon normal differentiation, each of which become enriched in H3K27me3, Jarid2 knockdown prevented such H3K27 methylation at these genes, and this correlated with their delayed repression. Thus, the Jumonji family of proteins that usually exhibits demethylase activity that might function in opposition to the role mediated by PRC2 contains the member Jarid2 that is devoid of such activity and instead facilitates the action of PRC2 through enabling its access to chromatin (Li, 2010).

Polycomblike 2 facilitates the recruitment of PRC2 Polycomb group complexes to the inactive X chromosome and to target loci in embryonic stem cells

Polycomb group (PcG) proteins play an important role in the control of developmental gene expression in higher organisms. In mammalian systems, PcG proteins participate in the control of pluripotency, cell fate, cell cycle regulation, X chromosome inactivation and parental imprinting. This study has analysed the function of the mouse PcG protein polycomblike 2 (Pcl2), one of three homologues of the Drosophila Polycomblike (Pcl) protein. Pcl2 is expressed at high levels during early embryogenesis and in embryonic stem (ES) cells. At the biochemical level, Pcl2 interacts with core components of the histone H3K27 methyltransferase complex Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), to form a distinct substoichiometric biochemical complex, Pcl2-PRC2. Functional analysis using RNAi knockdown demonstrates that Pcl2-PRC2 facilitates both PRC2 recruitment to the inactive X chromosome in differentiating XX ES cells and PRC2 recruitment to target genes in undifferentiated ES cells. The role of Pcl2 in PRC2 targeting in ES cells is critically dependent on a conserved PHD finger domain, suggesting that Pcl2 might function through the recognition of a specific chromatin configuration (Casanova, 2011).

Functions of Polycomblike orthologs in other species

Mtf2-PRC2 control of canonical Wnt signaling is required for definitive erythropoiesis

Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) accessory proteins play substoichiometric, tissue-specific roles to recruit PRC2 to specific genomic loci or increase enzymatic activity, while PRC2 core proteins are required for complex stability and global levels of trimethylation of histone 3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me3). This study demonstrates a role for the classical PRC2 accessory protein Mtf2/Pcl2 (one of the three vertebrate homologs of Drosophila melanogaster Polycomblike) in the hematopoietic system that is more akin to that of a core PRC2 protein. Mtf2-/- erythroid progenitors demonstrate markedly decreased core PRC2 protein levels and a global loss of H3K27me3 at promoter-proximal regions. The resulting de-repression of transcriptional and signaling networks blocks definitive erythroid development, culminating in Mtf2-/- embryos dying by e15.5 due to severe anemia. Gene regulatory network (GRN) analysis demonstrated Mtf2 directly regulates Wnt signaling in erythroblasts, leading to activated canonical Wnt signaling in Mtf2-deficient erythroblasts, while chemical inhibition of canonical Wnt signaling rescued Mtf2-deficient erythroblast differentiation in vitro. Using a combination of in vitro, in vivo and systems analyses, this study demonstrateMtf2-/- that Mtf2 is a critical epigenetic regulator of Wnt signaling during erythropoiesis and recasts the role of polycomb accessory proteins in a tissue-specific context (Rothberg, 2018).

Epigenetic regulation of cell signaling is fundamental to developmental and homeostatic processes. The evolutionarily conserved polycomb group proteins were first identified by their repression of Homeotic (Hox) genes regulating body axis formation. The different polycomb group proteins associate to form functionally distinct complexes that belong to two major families: polycomb repressive complexes 1 and 2 (PRC1 and PRC2, respectively). While the core components of the PRC1 include Pcgf and an E3 ubiquitin ligase Ring1b, responsible for the maintenance of H2AK119ub1 marks, PRC2 consists of three core proteins: Suz12, Eed and one of the histone methyltransferases Ezh1 or Ezh2, responsible for the maintenance of the global H3K27me3 marks. Although the core PRC2 proteins are required for the stability of the PRC2 complex, none encode DNA binding domains. Hence, the core PRC2 proteins interact with accessory proteins, such as Jarid2, Aebp2 or members of the polycomb-like (Pcl) family encoding Phf1 (Pcl1), Mtf2/Pcl2 and Phf19 (Pcl3) that contain DNA binding domains able to target the PRC2 to specific genomic loci. While the core PRC2 complex proteins are abundantly expressed across all tissues and are required for proper differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and somatic stem cells, PRC2 accessory proteins have shown limited expression in certain tissues and hence need to be studied in a tissue-specific manner (Rothberg, 2018).

Hematopoiesis is a tightly regulated process requiring the lifelong generation of sufficient mature cells of multiple lineages to replace aged cells. During hematopoiesis, polycomb proteins play fundamental roles in cell fate decisions and differentiation programs. Core components of PRC2 have significant roles in regulating hematopoiesis and recent studies have demonstrated that Ezh1 and Ezh2 are differentially regulated during hematopoietic ontogeny. Conditional ablation of Ezh2 and Eed in hematopoietic cells revealed defects in hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) self-renewal and erythroid differentiation, ultimately leading to anemia. However, the role of Ezh2 is cell-stage specific, as Ezh2 is dispensable in adult HSCs via compensatory Ezh1 function. Ablation of the PRC2 accessory protein Jarid2 resulted in anemia via non-cell-autonomous mechanisms. While extensive studies have been conducted on PRC2 core complex members and Jarid2 in the hematopoietic system, little is known about the role of other PRC2 accessory proteins within this context (Rothberg, 2018).

Metal regulatory transcription factor 2 (Mtf2; a.k.a., polycomb-like 2 (Pcl2)) is a catalytically inactive Pcl family protein that has been shown to recruit the PRC2 to target gene loci within ESCs. Mtf2 knockdown in ESCs led to reduced H3K27me3 levels at Mtf2 target loci but did not affect global H3K27me3 levels. Moreover, manipulating the expression of Mtf2 did not affect the expression of core PRC2 complex members, supporting its role as a PRC2 accessory protein in ESCs. While the function of Mtf2 has been characterized in ESCs, the role of Mtf2 in vivo is poorly understood (Rothberg, 2018).

The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is highly conserved for body axis formation, endodermal specification and organ formation among vertebrates. Abnormal expression of Wnt/β-catenin signaling results in developmental disorders and diseases including cardiovascular diseases, skeletal disorders, neuronal diseases and cancer. A variety of transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms impart tight regulation on the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Recently, PRC2-mediated regulation of Wnt signaling has been shown to control cell growth across multiple tissues; however, it is not clear how the Wnt signaling pathway is epigenetically regulated and little is known about the role of PRC2 in regulating these pathways (Rothberg, 2018).

This study shows the PRC2 accessory protein, Mtf2, is required for embryonic and erythroid development by epigenetically repressing Wnt transcriptional and signaling pathways during hematopoiesis. In CD71+Ter119+ erythroblasts, Mtf2 deficiency results in a global loss of promoter-proximal H3K27me3, aligning the function of Mtf2 in erythropoiesis more similar to a core PRC2 protein. It was further demonstrates that Mtf2-PRC2 represses canonical Wnt signaling, which regulates erythroid maturation by controlling critical differentiation genes, including Gata2, Fli1 and Myb. These findings also redefine the function of PRC2 accessory proteins, demonstrating that these proteins may fulfill the equivalent role of a core protein in a tissue-specific manner (Rothberg, 2018).

Using a systems approach, this study uncovered a unique and fundamental role for Mtf2 in erythrocyte differentiation, which occurs in part through PRC2-mediated epigenetic repression of canonical Wnt signaling. The cell-intrinsic role of Mtf2 in hematopoiesis and its regulation of core PRC2 complex members re-defines its traditional role as a polycomb accessory protein to an essential core-like PRC2 protein within the hematopoietic system. This novel discovery is in contrast to its role in ESCs and to the role of other PRC2 accessory proteins within the hematopoietic system, such as Jarid2. The findings are also consistent with previously published PRC2 complex purification and proteomics analysis that revealed that Mtf2 within erythroid cells is present at stoichiometric levels within the PRC2 complex. Moreover, at the morphological level, the block in erythroid differentiation and reduced cellularity observed within Mtf2 KO embryos phenocopies that observed within KO embryos of other PRC2 core members, further demonstrating that Mtf2 within the hematopoietic system acts as a core complex member. Furthermore, these findings are consistent with PRC1 studies that have shown that both accessory and core proteins play a pivotal role in defining cell type-specific functions in a tissue-specific manner (Rothberg, 2018).

To elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying defective erythroid differentiation in Mtf2-deficient mice, this study drafted Mtf2 GRNs in erythroblasts and tested the epistatic relationships between Mtf2 and the canonical Wnt signaling pathway. Precise regulation of the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway is essential for the development and function of HSCs and defects in the signaling pathway are associated with hematological malignancies. Not surprisingly, multiple epigenetic modulators can regulate expression of Wnt pathway constituents. This study demonstrates the novel observation that the Mtf2-PRC2 complex transcriptionally represses the expression of β-catenin within both FL and adult mouse HSPCs. This analysis highlights a specific role for Mtf2-PRC2 in regulating canonical Wnt signaling during erythropoiesis. Inhibition of activated β-catenin by small molecules decreases canonical Wnt signaling which extensively rescued the erythroid maturation defect seen in Mtf2-deficient HSPCs and pro-erythroblasts, as demonstrated by both colony forming and ex vivo maturation assays, respectively. Furthermore, attenuating Wnt signaling via β-catenin inhibition reduced the expression of the negative erythroid regulators, which were de-repressed upon loss of Mtf2. Thus, this study has elucidated for the first time a role for PRC2-mediated epigenetic regulation of canonical Wnt signaling in erythroblasts and its downstream effect on genes critical for cell fate decisions (Rothberg, 2018).

Tightly regulated epigenetic control of gene expression is critical to coordinate multiple signaling pathways during development. Using an unbiased systems biology approach this study reports a unique role for a PRC2 accessory protein. In a tissue-specific manner, Mtf2 functions similarly to a core PRC2 protein to epigenetically regulate canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways. Collectively, these data illustrate how Mtf2 functions as an essential PRC2 component in the hematopoietic system, regulating core PRC2 components and modulating PRC2-mediated promoter-proximal H3K27me3 methylation and repression of gene networks that are essential for hematopoietic development and function (Rothberg, 2018).

MTF2 recruits Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 by helical-shape-selective DNA binding

Polycomb-mediated repression of gene expression is essential for development, with a pivotal role played by trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3), which is deposited by Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2). The mechanism by which PRC2 is recruited to target genes has remained largely elusive, particularly in vertebrates. This study demonstrates that MTF2, one of the three vertebrate homologs of Drosophila melanogaster Polycomblike, is a DNA-binding, methylation-sensitive PRC2 recruiter in mouse embryonic stem cells. MTF2 directly binds to DNA and is essential for recruitment of PRC2 both in vitro and in vivo. Genome-wide recruitment of the PRC2 catalytic subunit EZH2 is abrogated in Mtf2 knockout cells, resulting in greatly reduced H3K27me3 deposition. MTF2 selectively binds regions with a high density of unmethylated CpGs in a context of reduced helix twist, which distinguishes target from non-target CpG islands. These results demonstrate instructive recruitment of PRC2 to genomic targets by MTF2 (Perino, 2018).

A novel role of metal response element binding transcription factor 2 at the Hox gene cluster in the regulation of H3K27me3 by polycomb repressive complex 2

Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is known to play an important role in the regulation of early embryonic development, differentiation, and cellular proliferation by introducing methyl groups onto lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3). PRC2 is tightly associated with silencing of Hox gene clusters and their sequential activation, leading to normal development and differentiation. To investigate epigenetic changes induced by PRC2 during differentiation, deposition of PRC2 components and levels of H3K27me3 were extensively examined using mouse F9 cells as a model system. Contrary to positive correlation between PRC2 deposition and H3K27me3 level, down-regulation of PRC2 components by shRNA and inhibition of EZH1/2 resulted in unexpected elevation of H3K27me3 level at the Hox gene cluster despite its global decrease. Metal response element binding transcriptional factor 2 (MTF2), one of sub-stoichiometric components of PRC2, was stably bound to Hox genes. Its binding capability was dependent on other core PRC2 components. A high level of H3K27me3 at Hox genes in Suz12-knock out cells was reversed by knockdown of Mtf2. This shows that MTF2 is necessary to consolidate PRC2-mediated histone methylation. Taken together, these results indicate that expression of Hox gene clusters during differentiation is strictly modulated by the activity of PRC2 secured by MTF2 (Kahn, 2018).

Capturing the onset of PRC2-mediated repressive domain formation

Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) maintains gene silencing by catalyzing methylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me2/3) within chromatin. By designing a system whereby PRC2-mediated repressive domains were collapsed and then reconstructed in an inducible fashion in vivo, a two-step mechanism of H3K27me2/3 domain formation became evident. First, PRC2 is stably recruited by the actions of JARID2 and MTF2 to a limited number of spatially interacting "nucleation sites," creating H3K27me3-forming Polycomb foci within the nucleus. Second, PRC2 is allosterically activated via its binding to H3K27me3 and rapidly spreads H3K27me2/3 both in cis and in far-cis via long-range contacts. As PRC2 proceeds further from the nucleation sites, its stability on chromatin decreases such that domains of H3K27me3 remain proximal, and those of H3K27me2 distal, to the nucleation sites. This study demonstrates the principles of de novo establishment of PRC2-mediated repressive domains across the genome (Oksuz, 2018).


Search PubMed for articles about Drosophila Polycomblike

Cao, R., et al. (2002). Role of Histone H3 lysine 27 methylation in Polycomb-Group silencing. Science 298: 1039-1043. PubMed ID: 12351676

Casanova, M., et al. (2011). Polycomblike 2 facilitates the recruitment of PRC2 Polycomb group complexes to the inactive X chromosome and to target loci in embryonic stem cells. Development 138(8): 1471-82. PubMed ID: 21367819

Czermin, B., et al. (2002). Drosophila Enhancer of Zeste/Esc complexes have a histone H3 methyltransferase activity that marks chromosomal polycomb sites. Cell 111: 185-196. PubMed ID: 12408863

DeLuca, S. Z., Ghildiyal, M., Pang, L. Y. and Spradling, A. C. (2020). Differentiating Drosophila female germ cells initiate Polycomb silencing by regulating PRC2-interacting proteins. Elife 9. PubMed ID: 32773039

Ebert, A., et al. (2004). Su(var) genes regulate the balance between euchromatin and heterochromatin in Drosophila. Genes Dev. 18: 2973-2983. PubMed ID: PubMed ID; Online text

Khan, A. A., Ham, S. J., Yen, L. N., Lee, H. L., Huh, J., Jeon, H., Kim, M. H. and Roh, T. Y. (2018). A novel role of metal response element binding transcription factor 2 at the Hox gene cluster in the regulation of H3K27me3 by polycomb repressive complex 2. Oncotarget 9(41): 26572-26585. PubMed ID: 29899877

Kahn, T. G., Schwartz, Y. B., Dellino, G. I. and Pirrotta, V. (2006). Polycomb complexes and the propagation of the methylation mark at the Drosophila Ubx gene. J. Biol. Chem. 281(39): 29064-75. PubMed ID: 16887811

Ketel, C. S., et al. (2005). Subunit contributions to histone methyltransferase activities of fly and worm polycomb group complexes. Mol. Cell. Biol. 25: 6857-6868. PubMed ID: 16055700

Kuzmichev, A., et al. (2002). Histone methyltransferase activity associated with a human multiprotein complex containing the Enhancer of Zeste protein. Genes Dev. 16: 2893-2905. PubMed ID: 12435631

Li, G., et al. (2010). Jarid2 and PRC2, partners in regulating gene expression. Genes Dev. 24(4): 368-80. PubMed ID: 20123894

Mohd-Sarip, A., Venturini, F., Chalkley, G.E. and Verrijzer, C.P. (2002). Pleiohomeotic can link polycomb to DNA and mediate transcriptional repression. Mol. Cell Biol. 22: 7473-7483. PubMed ID: 12370294

Mohd-Sarip, A., et al. (2005). Synergistic recognition of an epigenetic DNA element by Pleiohomeotic and a Polycomb core complex. Genes Dev. 19: 1755-1760. PubMed ID: 16077005

Mohd-Sarip, A., van der Knaap, J. A., Wyman, C., Kanaar, R., Schedl, P. and Verrijzer, C. P. (2006). Architecture of a polycomb nucleoprotein complex. Mol. Cell 24(1): 91-100. PubMed ID: 17018295

Müller, J., et al. (2000). Histone methyltransferase activity of a Drosophila polycomb group repressor complex. Cell 111: 197-208. PubMed ID: 12408864

Nekrasov, M., Wild, B., and Müller, J. (2005). Nucleosome binding and histone methyltransferase activity of Drosophila PRC2. EMBO Rep. 6: 348-353. PubMed ID: PubMed ID; Online text

Nekrasov, M., et al. (2007). Pcl-PRC2 is needed to generate high levels of H3-K27 trimethylation at Polycomb target genes. EMBO J. 26(18): 4078-88. PubMed ID: PubMed ID; Online text

Ng, J., et al. (2000). A Drosophila ESC-E(Z) protein complex is distinct from other polycomb group complexes and contains covalently modified ESC. Mol. Cell. Biol. 20: 20(9): 3069-78. PubMed ID: PubMed ID; Online text

O'Connell S., et al. (2001). Polycomblike PHD fingers mediate conserved interaction with enhancer of zeste protein. J. Biol. Chem. 276(46): 43065-73. PubMed ID: 11571280

Oksuz, O., Narendra, V., Lee, C. H., Descostes, N., LeRoy, G., Raviram, R., Blumenberg, L., Karch, K., Rocha, P. P., Garcia, B. A., Skok, J. A. and Reinberg, D. (2018). Capturing the onset of PRC2-mediated repressive domain formation. Mol Cell 70(6): 1149-1162. PubMed ID: 29932905

Papp, B. and Muller, J. (2006). Histone trimethylation and the maintenance of transcriptional ON and OFF states by trxG and PcG proteins. Genes Dev. 20(15): 2041-54. PubMed ID: PubMed ID; Online text

Perino, M., van Mierlo, G., Karemaker, I. D., van Genesen, S., Vermeulen, M., Marks, H., van Heeringen, S. J. and Veenstra, G. J. C. (2018). MTF2 recruits Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 by helical-shape-selective DNA binding. Nat Genet 50(7): 1002-1010. PubMed ID: 29808031

Rothberg, J. L. M., Maganti, H. B., Jrade, H., Porter, C. J., Palidwor, G. A., Cafariello, C., Battaion, H. L., Khan, S. T., Perkins, T. J., Paulson, R. F., Ito, C. Y. and Stanford, W. L. (2018). Mtf2-PRC2 control of canonical Wnt signaling is required for definitive erythropoiesis. Cell Discov 4: 21. PubMed ID: 29736258

Savla, U., Benes, J., Zhang, J. and Jones, R. S. (2008). Recruitment of Drosophila Polycomb-group proteins by Polycomblike, a component of a novel protein complex in larvae. Development 135(5): 813-7. PubMed ID: PubMed ID; Online text

Schwartz, Y., et al. (2006). Genome-wide analysis of Polycomb targets in Drosophila melanogaster. Nat Genet 38: 700-705. PubMed ID: PubMed ID; Online text

Tie, F., Prasad-Sinha, J., Birve, A., Rasmuson-Lestander, A. and Harte, P. J. (2003). A 1-megadalton ESC/E(Z) complex from Drosophila that contains polycomblike and RPD3. Mol. Cell. Biol. 23(9): 3352-62. PubMed ID: PubMed ID; Online text

Wang, L., Brown, J. L., Cao, R., Zhang, Y., Kassis, J. A. and Jones, R. S. (2004). Hierarchical recruitment of polycomb group silencing complexes. Mol. Cell 14: 637-646. PubMed ID: 15175158

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date revised: 15 August 2018

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