A new world of Polycombs: unexpected partnerships and emerging functions

Nat Rev Genet. 2013 Dec;14(12):853-64. doi: 10.1038/nrg3603. Epub 2013 Nov 12.


Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are epigenetic repressors that are essential for the transcriptional control of cell differentiation and development. PcG-mediated repression is associated with specific post-translational histone modifications and is thought to involve both biochemical and physical modulation of chromatin structure. Recent advances show that PcG complexes comprise a multiplicity of variants and are far more biochemically diverse than previously thought. The importance of these new PcG complexes for normal development and disease, their targeting mechanisms and their shifting roles in the course of differentiation are now the subject of investigation and the focus of this Review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins / physiology*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Histones
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins