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EMBO J. 2017 Oct 2;36(19):2887-2906. doi: 10.15252/embj.201695751. Epub 2017 Sep 4.

The Hox proteins Ubx and AbdA collaborate with the transcription pausing factor M1BP to regulate gene transcription.

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Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, IBDM, UMR 7288, Marseille, France.
MGX-Montpellier GenomiX c/o Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle, Montpellier, France.
Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA.
BioMicro Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, IBDM, UMR 7288, Marseille, France


In metazoans, the pausing of RNA polymerase II at the promoter (paused Pol II) has emerged as a widespread and conserved mechanism in the regulation of gene transcription. While critical in recruiting Pol II to the promoter, the role transcription factors play in transitioning paused Pol II into productive Pol II is, however, little known. By studying how Drosophila Hox transcription factors control transcription, we uncovered a molecular mechanism that increases productive transcription. We found that the Hox proteins AbdA and Ubx target gene promoters previously bound by the transcription pausing factor M1BP, containing paused Pol II and enriched with promoter-proximal Polycomb Group (PcG) proteins, yet lacking the classical H3K27me3 PcG signature. We found that AbdA binding to M1BP-regulated genes results in reduction in PcG binding, the release of paused Pol II, increases in promoter H3K4me3 histone marks and increased gene transcription. Linking transcription factors, PcG proteins and paused Pol II states, these data identify a two-step mechanism of Hox-driven transcription, with M1BP binding leading to Pol II recruitment followed by AbdA targeting, which results in a change in the chromatin landscape and enhanced transcription.


Hox; M1BP; RNA polymerase II; promoter‐proximal pausing; transcription

[Available on 2018-10-02]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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