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Science. 2002 Nov 1;298(5595):1039-43. Epub 2002 Sep 26.

Role of histone H3 lysine 27 methylation in Polycomb-group silencing.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295, USA.

Abstract

Polycomb group (PcG) proteins play important roles in maintaining the silent state of HOX genes. Recent studies have implicated histone methylation in long-term gene silencing. However, a connection between PcG-mediated gene silencing and histone methylation has not been established. Here we report the purification and characterization of an EED-EZH2 complex, the human counterpart of the Drosophila ESC-E(Z) complex. We demonstrate that the complex specifically methylates nucleosomal histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3-K27). Using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, we show that H3-K27 methylation colocalizes with, and is dependent on, E(Z) binding at an Ultrabithorax (Ubx) Polycomb response element (PRE), and that this methylation correlates with Ubx repression. Methylation on H3-K27 facilitates binding of Polycomb (PC), a component of the PRC1 complex, to histone H3 amino-terminal tail. Thus, these studies establish a link between histone methylation and PcG-mediated gene silencing.

PMID:
12351676
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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