Is it time to take R(Epressive) out of PRC1?

Dongmei Wang*, Rui Yi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


All of the cells in our body share largely identical DNA, yet functionally distinct cells are generated to give rise to different tissues and organs. A fundamental question in biology is how different cell fates are specified and maintained. Epigenetic mechanisms hold a key answer to the question. Without changing the sequence of DNA but through modifying DNA, histones, or RNA, epigenetic mechanisms can decide which genes to express and which to suppress. Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are a group of evolutionarily conserved proteins that can regulate gene expression through histone modification. Although PcG proteins have been traditionally described as epigenetic repressors, emerging evidence suggests a more complex scenario in which PcG proteins can have a dynamic effect on gene expression. In this issue of Genes & Development, Cohen and colleagues (pp. 55–60) studied the function of Polycomb-repressive complex 1 (PRC1) in mouse skin development and identified PRC1’s unique function independent of PRC2. Notably, the total loss of PRC1 but not canonical PRC1 in the skin leads to widespread down-regulation of genes involved in cell adhesion and cytoskeleton organization, resulting in skin fragility. This new study lays a foundation to examine the role of PRC1 in activating gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-5
Number of pages2
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Cell adhesion
  • Epidermis
  • Epigenetics
  • PRC1
  • PRC2
  • Polycomb complex
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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