Polycomb group proteins: repression in 3D

Trends Genet. 2011 Nov;27(11):454-64. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2011.06.008. Epub 2011 Jul 25.


Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are well-conserved chromatin factors that repress the transcription of their target genes. They bind to the genome at specific sites and act on chromatin through the regulation of both post-translational histone modifications and higher-order chromatin structure. Recent work has revealed that PcG-bound regulatory regions can interact with promoters and modulate their activity via mechanisms involving looping between regulatory elements and also long-distance interactions in cis or in trans (on different chromosomes). This indicates that the 3D organization of PcG proteins contributes significantly to their function. Moreover, because long-range chromosomal contacts have been shown to involve many genomic loci in addition to Polycomb target genes, their regulatory impact could extend beyond the function of Polycomb proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Down-Regulation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Multiprotein Complexes / genetics
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*


  • Histones
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins