JARID2 and AEBP2 regulate PRC2 in the presence of H2AK119ub1 and other histone modifications

Science. 2021 Jan 22;371(6527):eabc3393. doi: 10.1126/science.abc3393.


Polycomb repressive complexes 1 and 2 (PRC1 and PRC2) cooperate to determine cell identity by epigenetic gene expression regulation. However, the mechanism of PRC2 recruitment by means of recognition of PRC1-mediated H2AK119ub1 remains poorly understood. Our PRC2 cryo-electron microscopy structure with cofactors JARID2 and AEBP2 bound to a H2AK119ub1-containing nucleosome reveals a bridge helix in EZH2 that connects the SET domain, H3 tail, and nucleosomal DNA. JARID2 and AEBP2 each interact with one ubiquitin and the H2A-H2B surface. JARID2 stimulates PRC2 through interactions with both the polycomb protein EED and the H2AK119-ubiquitin, whereas AEBP2 has an additional scaffolding role. The presence of these cofactors partially overcomes the inhibitory effect that H3K4me3 and H3K36me3 exert on core PRC2 (in the absence of cofactors). Our results support a key role for JARID2 and AEBP2 in the cross-talk between histone modifications and PRC2 activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Histone Code*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism
  • PR-SET Domains
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 / chemistry
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism
  • Xenopus


  • AEBP2 protein, human
  • Histones
  • JARID2 protein, human
  • Nucleosomes
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Ubiquitin
  • histone H3 trimethyl Lys4
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2