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Sci Adv. 2020 Jan 10;6(2):eaax4001. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax4001. eCollection 2020 Jan.

Widespread activation of developmental gene expression characterized by PRC1-dependent chromatin looping.

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Institute of Human Genetics, UMR 9002, CNRS-University of Montpellier, 34396 Montpellier, France.


Polycomb repressive complexes 1 and 2 have been historically described as transcriptional repressors, but recent reports suggest that PRC1 might also support activation, although the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we show that stage-specific PRC1 binding at a subset of active promoters and enhancers during Drosophila development coincides with the formation of three-dimensional (3D) loops, an increase in expression during development and repression in PRC1 mutants. Dissection of the dachshund locus indicates that PRC1-anchored loops are versatile architectural platforms that persist when surrounding genes are transcriptionally active and fine-tune their expression. The analysis of RING1B binding profiles and 3D contacts during neural differentiation in mice suggests that this role is conserved in mammals.

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