The Polycomb system modulates chromatin structure to maintain gene repression during cell differentiation. Polycomb repression involves methylation of histone H3K27 (H3K27me3) by Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), monoubiquitylation of H2A (H2Aub1) by noncanonical PRC1 (ncPRC1), and chromatin compaction by canonical PRC1 (cPRC1), which is independent of its enzymatic activity. Puzzlingly, Polycomb repression also requires deubiquitylation of H2Aub1 by Polycomb repressive deubiquitinase (PR-DUB). In this issue of Genes & Development, Bonnet and colleagues (pp. 1046-1061) resolve this paradox by showing that high levels of H2Aub1 in Drosophila lacking PR-DUB activity promotes open chromatin and gene expression in spite of normal H3K27me3 levels and PRC binding. Pertinently, gene repression is restored by concomitant loss of PRC1 E3 ubiquitin ligase activity but depends on its chromatin compaction activity. These findings suggest that PR-DUB ensures just-right levels of H2Aub1 to allow chromatin compaction by cPRC1.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Genes & Development|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
I thank Yaser Atlasi for valuable comments on the manuscript. The work in my laboratory is supported in part by Dutch Research Council grant number 711.014.001.
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