Mammalian prc1 complexes: Compositional complexity and diverse molecular mechanisms

Zhuangzhuang Geng, Zhonghua Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Polycomb group (PcG) proteins function as vital epigenetic regulators in various biological processes, including pluripotency, development, and carcinogenesis. PcG proteins form multicomponent complexes, and two major types of protein complexes have been identified in mammals to date, Polycomb Repressive Complexes 1 and 2 (PRC1 and PRC2). The PRC1 complexes are composed in a hierarchical manner in which the catalytic core, RING1A/B, exclusively interacts with one of six Polycomb group RING finger (PCGF) proteins. This association with specific PCGF proteins allows for PRC1 to be subdivided into six distinct groups, each with their own unique modes of action arising from the distinct set of associated proteins. Historically, PRC1 was considered to be a transcription repressor that deposited monoubiquitylation of histone H2A at lysine 119 (H2AK119ub1) and compacted local chromatin. More recently, there is increasing evidence that demonstrates the transcription activation role of PRC1. Moreover, studies on the higher-order chromatin structure have revealed a new function for PRC1 in mediating long-range interactions. This provides a different perspective regarding both the transcription activation and repression characteristics of PRC1. This review summarizes new advancements regarding the composition of mammalian PRC1 and accompanying explanations of how diverse PRC1-associated proteins participate in distinct transcription regulation mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8594
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 2 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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