Epigenetic regulation of gene expression in metazoans is central for establishing cellular diversity, and its deregulation can result in pathological conditions. Although transcription factors are essential for implementing gene expression programs, they do not function in isolation and require the recruitment of various chromatin-modifying and -remodeling machineries. A classic example of developmental chromatin regulation is the balanced activities of the Polycomb group (PcG) proteins within the PRC1 and PRC2 complexes, and the Trithorax group (TrxG) proteins within the COMPASS family, which are highly mutated in a large number of human diseases. In this review, we will discuss the latest findings regarding the properties of the PcG and COMPASS families and the insight they provide into the epigenetic control of transcription under physiological and pathological settings.
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