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Trends Genet. 2009 Sep;25(9):414-23. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2009.07.002. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

Diversity of Polycomb group complexes in plants: same rules, different players?

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Department of Biology and Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center, ETH Zurich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.


Polycomb Group (PcG) proteins form an epigenetic memory system that is conserved in plants and animals and controls gene expression during development. Loss of plant PcG proteins leads to loss of organ identity and to cell overproliferation. Our understanding of plant PcG protein function has recently been advanced by the identification of additional proteins required for transcriptional repression by PcG and by the purification of an Arabidopsis PcG protein complex. These data indicate that Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2)-like complexes in animals and plants have to associate with Plant Homeo Domain (PHD)-finger proteins for efficient deposition of histone H3 trimethylated at lysine 27 (H3K27me3) and transcriptional repression. Subsequently, H3K27me3 at target genes assist to recruit additional PcG protein complexes - PRC1 in animals and potentially LIKE HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN-1 (LHP1) and the RING finger gene product AtRING1 in plants. A picture is emerging in which the general mechanisms of PcG protein function are well conserved between animals and plants, but in which individual players have been exchanged during evolution.

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