De novo recruitment of polycomb-group proteins in drosophila embryos

Jumana Alhaj Abed, Elnaz Ghotbi, Piao Ye, Alexander Frolov, Judith Benes, Richard S. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Polycomb-group (PcG)-mediated transcriptional repression of target genes can be delineated into two phases. First, following initial repression of target genes by gene-specific transcription factors, PcG proteins recognize the repressed state and assume control of the genes’ repression. Second, once the silenced state is established, PcG proteins may maintain repression through an indefinite number of cell cycles. Little is understood about how PcG proteins initially recognize the repressed state of target genes and the steps leading to de novo establishment of PcG-mediated repression. We describe a genetic system in which a Drosophila PcG target gene, giant (gt), is ubiquitously repressed during early embryogenesis by a maternally expressed transcription factor, and show the temporal recruitment of components of three PcG protein complexes: PhoRC, PRC1 and PRC2. We show that de novo PcG recruitment follows a temporal hierarchy in which PhoRC stably localizes at the target gene at least 1 h before stable recruitment of PRC2 and concurrent trimethylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me3). The presence of PRC2 and increased levels of H3K27me3 are found to precede stable binding by PRC1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdev165027
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Epigenetics
  • Giant
  • Midblastula transition
  • Polycomb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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