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Structural basis for specific binding of Polycomb chromodomain to histone H3 methylated at Lys 27

By Jinrong Min, Yi Zhang and Rui-Ming Xu

Abstract

The chromodomain of Drosophila Polycomb protein is essential for maintaining the silencing state of homeotic genes during development. Recent studies suggest that Polycomb mediates the assembly of repressive higher-order chromatin structures in conjunction with the methylation of Lys 27 of histone H3 by a Polycomb group repressor complex. A similar mechanism in heterochromatin assembly is mediated by HP1, a chromodomain protein that binds to histone H3 methylated at Lys 9. To understand the molecular mechanism of the methyl-Lys 27 histone code recognition, we have determined a 1.4-Å-resolution structure of the chromodomain of Polycomb in complex with a histone H3 peptide trimethylated at Lys 27. The structure reveals a conserved mode of methyl-lysine binding and identifies Polycomb-specific interactions with histone H3. The structure also reveals a dPC dimer in the crystal lattice that is mediated by residues specifically conserved in the Polycomb family of chromodomains. The dimerization of dPC can effectively account for the histone-binding specificity and provides new mechanistic insights into the function of Polycomb. We propose that self-association is functionally important for Polycomb

Topics: Research Communications
Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.1101/gad.269603
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:196225
Provided by: PubMed Central
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