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PLoS Genet. 2016 Jan 13;12(1):e1005771. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005771. eCollection 2016 Jan.

Arabidopsis Flower and Embryo Developmental Genes are Repressed in Seedlings by Different Combinations of Polycomb Group Proteins in Association with Distinct Sets of Cis-regulatory Elements.

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National Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China.
Department of Chemistry, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
State Key Laboratory of Genetic Engineering, Collaborative Innovation Center of Genetics and Development, International Associated Laboratory of CNRS-Fudan-HUNAU on Plant Epigenome Research, Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Plant Biology, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes, UPR2357 CNRS, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.
Institute of Biomedical Science, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.


Polycomb repressive complexes (PRCs) play crucial roles in transcriptional repression and developmental regulation in both plants and animals. In plants, depletion of different members of PRCs causes both overlapping and unique phenotypic defects. However, the underlying molecular mechanism determining the target specificity and functional diversity is not sufficiently characterized. Here, we quantitatively compared changes of tri-methylation at H3K27 in Arabidopsis mutants deprived of various key PRC components. We show that CURLY LEAF (CLF), a major catalytic subunit of PRC2, coordinates with different members of PRC1 in suppression of distinct plant developmental programs. We found that expression of flower development genes is repressed in seedlings preferentially via non-redundant role of CLF, which specifically associated with LIKE HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN1 (LHP1). In contrast, expression of embryo development genes is repressed by PRC1-catalytic core subunits AtBMI1 and AtRING1 in common with PRC2-catalytic enzymes CLF or SWINGER (SWN). This context-dependent role of CLF corresponds well with the change in H3K27me3 profiles, and is remarkably associated with differential co-occupancy of binding motifs of transcription factors (TFs), including MADS box and ABA-related factors. We propose that different combinations of PRC members distinctively regulate different developmental programs, and their target specificity is modulated by specific TFs.

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