Ring1B compacts chromatin structure and represses gene expression independent of histone ubiquitination

Ragnhild Eskeland, Martin Leeb, Graeme R Grimes, Clémence Kress, Shelagh Boyle, Duncan Sproul, Nick Gilbert, Yuhong Fan, Arthur I Skoultchi, Anton Wutz, Wendy A Bickmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

How polycomb group proteins repress gene expression in vivo is not known. While histone-modifying activities of the polycomb repressive complexes (PRCs) have been studied extensively, in vitro data have suggested a direct activity of the PRC1 complex in compacting chromatin. Here, we investigate higher-order chromatin compaction of polycomb targets in vivo. We show that PRCs are required to maintain a compact chromatin state at Hox loci in embryonic stem cells (ESCs). There is specific decompaction in the absence of PRC2 or PRC1. This is due to a PRC1-like complex, since decompaction occurs in Ring1B null cells that still have PRC2-mediated H3K27 methylation. Moreover, we show that the ability of Ring1B to restore a compact chromatin state and to repress Hox gene expression is not dependent on its histone ubiquitination activity. We suggest that Ring1B-mediated chromatin compaction acts to directly limit transcription in vivo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-64
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Cell
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • DNA
  • DEVBIO

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