Maintenance of spatial gene expression by Polycomb-mediated repression after formation of a vertebrate body plan

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Julien RougotLeonie M Kamminga


Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are transcriptional repressors that are important regulators of cell fate during embryonic development. Among them, Ezh2 is responsible for catalyzing the epigenetic repressive mark H3K27me3 and is essential for animal development. The ability of zebrafish embryos lacking both maternal and zygotic ezh2 to form a normal body plan provides a unique model to comprehensively study Ezh2 function during early development in vertebrates. By using a multi-omics approach, we found that Ezh2 is required for the deposition of H3K27me3 and is essential for the recruitment of Polycomb group protein Rnf2. However, and despite the complete absence of PcG-associated epigenetic mark and proteins, only minor changes in H3K4me3 deposition and gene and protein expression occurred. These changes were mainly due to local deregulation of transcription factors outside their normal expression boundaries. Altogether, our results in zebrafish show that Polycomb-mediated gene repression is important right after the body plan is formed to maintain spatially restricted expression profiles of transcription factors and highlight the differences that exist in the timing of PcG protein action between vertebrate species. Summary st...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Embryonic Development
Enzyme Repression
Gene Expression
Transcription, Genetic

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