Antagonizing Polycomb group-mediated gene repression by chromatin remodelers

Epigenetics. 2010 Jan 1;5(1):20-3. doi: 10.4161/epi.5.1.10559. Epub 2010 Jan 6.


Cellular identity is maintained by epigenetic processes that prevent changes of cell-type specific transcriptional programs. Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are evolutionary conserved key players of cellular identity that repress central developmental regulators by modifying chromatin structure. PcG-mediated repression is antagonized by trithorax group (trxG) proteins that prevent inappropriate repression by PcG proteins. The molecular basis for this antagonistic activity is unclear. So far, only few chromatin regulatory proteins have been associated with trxG function in Arabidopsis. Recent work revealed that ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling factors of the Chromodomain-Helicase-DNA-binding (CHD) subfamily have trxG-like functions in Arabidopsis. Here we will discuss the implications of these findings that point towards an evolutionary conservation of PcG/trxG mediated gene regulation in higher eukaryotes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Chromatin / chemistry*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • Plant Proteins
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein
  • Adenosine Triphosphate