Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 Generates Discrete Compacted Domains that Change during Differentiation

UMMS Affiliation

Program in Systems Biology; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Publication Date


Document Type



Molecular Biology | Systems Biology


Master regulatory genes require stable silencing by the polycomb group (PcG) to prevent misexpression during differentiation and development. Some PcG proteins covalently modify histones, which contributes to heritable repression. The role for other effects on chromatin structure is less understood. We characterized the organization of PcG target genes in ESCs and neural progenitors using 5C and super-resolution microscopy. The genomic loci of repressed PcG targets formed discrete, small (20-140 Kb) domains of tight interaction that corresponded to locations bound by canonical polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1). These domains changed during differentiation as PRC1 binding changed. Their formation depended upon the Polyhomeotic component of canonical PRC1 and occurred independently of PRC1-catalyzed ubiquitylation. PRC1 domains differ from topologically associating domains in size and boundary characteristics. These domains have the potential to play a key role in transmitting epigenetic silencing of PcG targets by linking PRC1 to formation of a repressive higher-order structure.

DOI of Published Version



Mol Cell. 2017 Feb 2;65(3):432-446.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2017.01.009. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Molecular cell

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID