Epigenetic regulation of skin: focus on the Polycomb complex

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012 Jul;69(13):2161-2172. doi: 10.1007/s00018-012-0920-x.


Chromatin regulators have recently emerged as key players in the control of tissue development and tumorigenesis. One specific chromatin regulator, the Polycomb complex, has been shown to regulate the identity of embryonic stem cells, but its role in controlling fates of multipotent progenitors in developing tissues is still largely unknown. Recent findings have revealed that this complex plays a critical role in control of skin stem cell renewal and differentiation. Moreover, the expression of Polycomb complex components is often aberrant in skin diseases, including skin cancers. This review will detail recent findings on Polycomb control of skin and highlight critical unknown questions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferase 1
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Multipotent Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / embryology*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin Diseases / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases
  • KDM6B protein, human
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferase 1
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases
  • EZH2 protein, human
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2