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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. In this study we have analysed the function of the mouse PcG protein polycomblike 2 (Pcl2), one of three homologues of the Drosophila Polycomblike (Pcl) protein. We show that 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.

Original publication

DOI

10.1242/dev.053652

Type

Journal article

Journal

Development

Publication Date

04/2011

Volume

138

Pages

1471 - 1482

Keywords

Animals, Blotting, Western, Cell Line, Chromatin Immunoprecipitation, Chromatography, Gel, Embryonic Stem Cells, Female, Immunoprecipitation, In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence, Male, Mass Spectrometry, Mice, Polycomb Repressive Complex 2, Polycomb-Group Proteins, Pregnancy, Repressor Proteins, X Chromosome