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Genes Dev. 2006 May 1;20(9):1081-6.

Dynamic regulatory interactions of Polycomb group genes: MEDEA autoregulation is required for imprinted gene expression in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Institute of Plant Biology and Zürich-Basel Plant Science Center, University of Zürich, CH-8008 Zürich, Switzerland.


The imprinted Arabidopsis Polycomb group (PcG) gene MEDEA (MEA), which is homologous to Enhancer of Zeste [E(Z)], is maternally required for normal seed development. Here we show that, unlike known mammalian imprinted genes, MEA regulates its own imprinted expression: It down-regulates the maternal allele around fertilization and maintains the paternal allele silent later during seed development. Autorepression of the maternal MEA allele is direct and independent of the MEA-FIE (FERTILIZATION-INDEPENDENT ENDOSPERM) PcG complex, which is similar to the E(Z)-ESC (Extra sex combs) complex of animals, suggesting a novel mechanism. A complex network of cross-regulatory interactions among the other known members of the MEA-FIE PcG complex implies distinct functions that are dynamically regulated during reproduction.

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