WDR68 is essential for the transcriptional activation of the PRC1-AUTS2 complex and neuronal differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells

Qiang Wang, Zhuangzhuang Geng, Yi Gong, Kaitlyn Warren, Haiyan Zheng, Yuka Imamura, Zhonghua Gao

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Recent studies on Polycomb repressive complexes (PRC) reveal a surprising role in transcriptional activation, yet the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. We previously identified a type 1 PRC (PRC1) that contains Autism Susceptibility Candidate 2 (AUTS2), which positively regulates transcription of neuronal genes. However, the mechanism by which the PRC1-AUTS2 complex influences neurodevelopment is unclear. Here we demonstrate that WDR68 is not only an integral component of the PRC1-AUTS2 complex, but it is also required for PRC1-AUTS2-mediated transcription activation. Furthermore, deletion of Wdr68 in mouse embryonic stem cells leads to defects in neuronal differentiation without affecting self-renewal. Through transcriptomic analysis, we found that many genes responsible for neuronal differentiation are down-regulated in Wdr68 deficient neural progenitors. These genes include those targeted by the PRC1-AUTS2 complex. In summary, our studies uncovered a previously unknown but essential component of the active PRC1 complex and evidence of its role in regulating the expression of genes that are important for neuronal differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-214
Number of pages9
JournalStem Cell Research
StatePublished - Dec 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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