Nucleoporins (Nups) are a family of proteins best known as the constituent building blocks of nuclear pore complexes (NPCs), membrane-embedded channels that mediate nuclear transport across the nuclear envelope. Recent evidence suggests that several Nups have additional roles in controlling the activation and silencing of developmental genes; however, the mechanistic details of these functions remain poorly understood. Here, we show that depletion of Nup153 in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) causes the derepression of developmental genes and induction of early differentiation. This loss of stem cell identity is not associated with defects in the nuclear import of key pluripotency factors. Rather, Nup153 binds around the transcriptional start site (TSS) of developmental genes and mediates the recruitment of the polycomb-repressive complex 1 (PRC1) to a subset of its target loci. Our results demonstrate a chromatin-associated role of Nup153 in maintaining stem cell pluripotency by functioning in mammalian epigenetic gene silencing.
Keywords: gene silencing; nucleoporins; polycomb silencing; stem cell pluripotency; transcription.
© 2015 Jacinto et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.