Interactions with RNA direct the Polycomb group protein SCML2 to chromatin where it represses target genes.

  • Bonasio R
  • Bonasio R
  • Lecona E
  • et al.
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Almost every cell in our bodies has the same genes but at any one time different genes will be switched on in different cells. Much of the DNA in a cell is wrapped around proteins called histones to form a compact structure called chromatin. The DNA in chromatin is often so tightly packed that the genes in the DNA cannot to be accessed or switched on.<br /><br />A complex of proteins called the Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 (or PRC1 for short) pack DNA into chromatin to switch genes off (and keep them off) in both plants and animals. Other proteins are known to weakly bind to this complex, including one called SCM in fruit flies. However, this protein has not been extensively studied.<br /><br />Bonasio, Lecona et al. have now looked at a related version of this protein that binds to chromatin in humans. These experiments revealed that this protein, which is called SCML2A, also binds to molecules of RNA, and Bonasio, Lecona et al. also identified a previously unrecognized domain within SCML2A that interacts with these molecules.<br /><br />Like other domains in this protein that bind to PRC1 and histones, SCML2A needs its RNA-binding region to be able to bind to chromatin in order to target and switch off certain genes. As such, the findings of Bonasio, Lecona et al. support models whereby RNA molecules can regulate the expression of genes, and suggest that some RNA molecules do this by interacting with SCML2A.<br /><br />Future work is needed to address whether RNA molecules serve as guides that direct SCML2A to specific genes that need to be switched off, or whether these molecules' roles are more complex.<br /><br />DOI: [][1]<br /><br />[1]: /lookup/doi/10.7554/eLife.02637.002




Bonasio, R., Bonasio, R., Lecona, E., Lecona, E., Narendra, V., Narendra, V., … SHILATIFARD, A. (2014). Interactions with RNA direct the Polycomb group protein SCML2 to chromatin where it represses target genes. ELife, 3, e02637. Retrieved from

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