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Epigenetics. 2016 Jun 2;11(6):389-97. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2016.1172160. Epub 2016 Apr 15.

Characterization of non-canonical Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 subunits during early mouse embryogenesis.

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a Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS/INSERM U964 , U de S, F-67404 Illkirch , CU de Strasbourg , France.
b Institute of Epigenetics and Stem Cells, Helmholtz Zentrum München D-81377 , München , Germany .


An intense period of chromatin remodeling takes place after fertilization in mammals, which is thought necessary for epigenetic reprogramming to start a new developmental program. While much attention has been given to the role of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) and to canonical PRC1 complexes during this process, little is known as to whether there is any contribution of non-canonical PRC1 in shaping the chromatin landscape after fertilization. Here, we first describe in detail the temporal dynamics and abundance of H2A ubiquitylation (H2AK119ub), a histone modification catalyzed by PRC1, during pre-implantation mouse development. In addition, we have analyzed the presence of the 2 characteristic subunits of non-canonical PRC1 complexes, RYBP and its homolog YAF-2. Our results indicate that H2AK119ub is inherited from the sperm, rapidly removed from the paternal chromatin after fertilization, but detected again prior to the first mitosis, suggesting that PRC1 activity occurs as early as the zygotic stage. RYBP and YAF-2, together with the non-canonical subunit L3MBTL2, are all present during pre-implantation development but show different temporal dynamics. While RYBP is absent in the zygote, it is strongly induced from the 4-cell stage onwards. YAF-2 is inherited maternally and localizes to the pericentromeric regions in the zygote, is strongly induced between the 2- and 4-cell stages but then remains weak to undetectable subsequently. All together, our data suggest that non-canonical PRC1 is active during pre-implantation development and should be regarded as an additional component during epigenetic reprogramming and in the establishment of cellular plasticity of the early embryo.


Epigenetic reprogramming; PRC1; histone modification; mouse embryo

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