How does the chromatin regulator PRC2 interact with RNA? Linking transcription with epigenetic state.

Richard Jenner (primary)
UCL Cancer Institute
Steve Gamblin (secondary)
Division of Biosciences
Francis Crick Institute / UCL


Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) modifies chromatin to maintain genes for other cell types in a repressed state. Loss of PRC2 function causes developmental defects, immunosuppression and cancer. We have previously shown that interaction with RNA prevents PRC2 from associating with chromatin, thereby allowing eviction of PRC2 and activation of repressed genes. How PRC2 interacts with RNA, and why this blocks its interaction with chromatin, are unknown. The aim of this project is to combine genomics, cell biology, and biophysical techniques to reveal how PRC2 binds RNA and to determine the importance if this interaction for cell identity.


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2. Beltran M, Yates CM, Skalska L, Dawson M, Reis FP, Viiri K, Fisher CL, Sibley CR, Ule J, Jenner RG. (2016). The interaction of PRC2 with RNA or chromatin is mutually antagonistic. Genome Res. 26: 896-907.

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4. Beltran M., Tavares M., Justin N., Khandelwal G., Ambrose A., Foster B.M., Kunzelmann S. Herrero J., Bartke T., Gamblin S.J., Wilson J.R. and Jenner R.G. (2019). G-tract RNA removes Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 from genes. In revision.

5. Skalska L, Beltran M, Ule J, Jenner RG. (2017). Regulatory feedback from nascent RNA to chromatin and transcription. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 18(5):331-337

Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
Cell BiologyStructural Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryBioinformaticsBiophysicsMathematics / StatisticsMolecular Biology