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.
© 2015 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.