USP7 regulates the ncPRC1 Polycomb axis to stimulate genomic H2AK119ub1 deposition uncoupled from H3K27me3

Sci Adv. 2022 Nov 4;8(44):eabq7598. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abq7598. Epub 2022 Nov 4.


Ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7) has been implicated in cancer progression and neurodevelopment. However, its molecular targets remain poorly characterized. We combined quantitative proteomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics to define the core USP7 network. Our multi-omics analysis reveals USP7 as a control hub that links genome regulation, tumor suppression, and histone H2A ubiquitylation (H2AK119ub1) by noncanonical Polycomb-repressive complexes (ncPRC1s). USP7 strongly stabilizes ncPRC1.6 and, to a lesser extent, ncPRC1.1. Moreover, USP7 represses expression of AUTS2, which suppresses H2A ubiquitylation by ncPRC1.3/5. Collectively, these USP7 activities promote the genomic deposition of H2AK119ub1 by ncPRC1, especially at transcriptionally repressed loci. Notably, USP7-dependent changes in H2AK119ub1 levels are uncoupled from H3K27me3. Even complete loss of the PRC1 catalytic core and H2AK119ub1 has only a limited effect on H3K27me3. Besides defining the USP7 regulome, our results reveal that H2AK119ub1 dosage is largely disconnected from H3K27me3.