Keeping the gate closed: functions of the polycomb repressive complex PRC2 in development

Plant J. 2015 Jul;83(1):121-32. doi: 10.1111/tpj.12828. Epub 2015 Apr 6.


Plant ontogeny relies on the correct timing and sequence of transitions between individual developmental phases. These are specified by gene expression patterns that are established by the balanced action of activators and repressors. Polycomb repressive complexes (PRCs) represent an evolutionarily conserved system of epigenetic gene repression that governs the establishment and maintenance of cell, tissue and organ identity, contributing to the correct execution of the developmental programs. PRC2 is a four-subunit histone methyltransferase complex that catalyzes trimethylation of lysine 27 on histone H3 (H3K27me3), which contributes to the change of chromatin structure and long-lasting gene repression. Here, we review the composition and molecular function of the different known PRC2 complexes in plants, and focus on the role of PRC2 in mediating the establishment of different developmental phases and transitions between them.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; chromatin; development; epigenetics; polycomb; vernalization.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plant Development*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Seeds / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • PRC2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Plant Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2