- B. Tursun
- Polycomb Group Proteins
In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans PcG proteins forming the Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) are highly conserved while other PcG-related proteins mediate canonical PRC1 activities. PRC2 in C. elegans mediates histone H3K27 methylation and is mainly required for germline development. Animals without PRC2 lack a germline but are viable. Recent studies in C. elegans revealed that the parental epigenetic memory established by PRC2 is inherited through sperm and oocytes to the offspring. Hence, the transgenerational inheritance of chromatin signatures transmits epigenetic memory from the parents to the zygote. Such transgenerational influence on individual epigenetic signatures is an important aspect in the context of personalized epigenetics and could be an important facet of epigenetics also in humans. This chapter provides an overview of PcG proteins and their functions in C. elegans including recent findings about the inheritance of PRC2-mediated silencing and the regulation of cellular plasticity by PRC2.