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J Cell Biol. 2004 Dec 20;167(6):1025-35. Epub 2004 Dec 13.

Developmentally regulated alterations in Polycomb repressive complex 1 proteins on the inactive X chromosome.

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  • 1Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


Polycomb group (PcG) proteins belonging to the polycomb (Pc) repressive complexes 1 and 2 (PRC1 and PRC2) maintain homeotic gene silencing. In Drosophila, PRC2 methylates histone H3 on lysine 27, and this epigenetic mark facilitates recruitment of PRC1. Mouse PRC2 (mPRC2) has been implicated in X inactivation, as mPRC2 proteins transiently accumulate on the inactive X chromosome (Xi) at the onset of X inactivation to methylate histone H3 lysine 27 (H3-K27). In this study, we demonstrate that mPRC1 proteins localize to the Xi, and that different mPRC1 proteins accumulate on the Xi during initiation and maintenance of X inactivation in embryonic cells. The Xi accumulation of mPRC1 proteins requires Xist RNA and is not solely regulated by the presence of H3-K27 methylation, as not all cells that exhibit this epigenetic mark on the Xi show Xi enrichment of mPRC1 proteins. Our results implicate mPRC1 in X inactivation and suggest that the regulated assembly of PcG protein complexes on the Xi contributes to this multistep process.

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