Architecture of a Polycomb Nucleoprotein Complex

Adone Tielenius Kruythoff-Mohd Sarip, Jan A. Van Der Knaap, Claire Wyman, Roland Kanaar, Paul Schedl, C. Peter Verrijzer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Polycomb group (PcG) epigenetic silencing proteins act through cis-acting DNA sequences, named Polycomb response elements (PREs). Within PREs, Pleiohomeotic (PHO) binding sites and juxtaposed Pc binding elements (PBEs) function as an integrated DNA platform for the synergistic binding of PHO and the multisubunit Polycomb core complex (PCC). Here, we analyzed the architecture of the PHO/PCC/PRE nucleoprotein complex. DNase I footprinting revealed extensive contacts between PHO/PCC and the PRE. Scanning force microscopy (SFM) in combination with DNA topological assays suggested that PHO/PCC wraps the PRE DNA around its surface in a constrained negative supercoil. These features are difficult to reconcile with the simultaneous presence of nucleosomes at the PRE. Indeed, chromatin immunoprecipitations (ChIPs) and nuclease mapping demonstrated that PREs are nucleosome depleted in vivo. We discuss the implications of these findings for models explaining PRE function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Cell
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 06 Oct 2006


  • DNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology

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