Abstract: Polycomb Repressive Complexes 1 and 2 (PRC1, PRC2) are conserved epigenetic regulators that promote transcriptional silencing. PRC1 and PRC2 converge on shared targets, catalyzing repressive histone modifications. In addition, a subset of PRC1/PRC2 targets engage in long-range interactions whose functions in gene silencing are poorly understood. Using a CRISPR screen in mouse embryonic stem cells, we identified that the cohesin regulator PDS5A links transcriptional silencing by Polycomb and 3D genome organization. PDS5A deletion impairs cohesin unloading and results in derepression of subset of endogenous PRC1/PRC2 target genes. Importantly, derepression is not associated with loss of repressive Polycomb chromatin modifications. Instead, loss of PDS5A leads to aberrant cohesin activity, ectopic insulation sites and specific reduction of ultra-long Polycomb loops. We infer that these loops are important for robust silencing at a subset of Polycomb target genes and that maintenance of cohesin-dependent genome architecture is critical for Polycomb regulation.

Journal Link: 10.1101/2021.12.15.472841 Journal Link: Publisher Website Journal Link: Download PDF Journal Link: Google Scholar