H3K27 methylation: a promiscuous repressive chromatin mark

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2017 Apr:43:31-37. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2016.11.001. Epub 2016 Dec 8.


Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) is a multiprotein complex that catalyzes the methylation of lysine 27 on histone H3 (H3K27me). This histone modification is a feature of facultative heterochromatin in many eukaryotes and maintains transcriptional repression established during early development. Understanding how PRC2 targets regions of the genome to be methylated remains poorly understood. Different cell types can show disparate patterns of H3K27me, and chromatin perturbations, such as loss of marks of constitutive heterochromatin, can cause redistribution of H3K27me, implying that DNA sequence, per se, is not sufficient to define the distribution of this mark. Emerging information supports the idea that the chromatin context-including histone modifications, DNA methylation, transcription, chromatin structure and organization within the nucleus-informs PRC2 target selection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • Heterochromatin / genetics
  • Histone Code / genetics*
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / genetics*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Humans
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 / genetics*


  • Chromatin
  • Heterochromatin
  • Histones
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2