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EZH2-Mediated H3K27me3 Targets Transcriptional Circuits of Neuronal Differentiation


  • Buontempo S.,
  • Laise P.,
  • Hughes J. M.,
  • Das V.,
  • Rencurel C.,
  • Testa G.

Research institutes:

Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan, Italy

Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, University of Milan, Milan, Italy

Human Technopole, Milan, Italy

Department of Structural Biology and Biophysics, Biozentrum of the University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland


The Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) plays important roles in the epigenetic regulation of cellular development and differentiation through H3K27me3-dependent transcriptional repression. Aberrant PRC2 activity has been associated with cancer and neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly with respect to the malfunction of sits catalytic subunit EZH2. Here, we investigated the role of the EZH2-mediated H3K27me3 apposition in neuronal differentiation. We made use of a transgenic mouse model harboring Ezh2 conditional KO alleles to derive embryonic stem cells and differentiate them into glutamatergic neurons. Time course transcriptomics and epigenomic analyses of H3K27me3 in absence of EZH2 revealed a significant dysregulation of molecular networks affecting the glutamatergic differentiation trajectory that resulted in: (i) the deregulation of transcriptional circuitries related to neuronal differentiation and synaptic plasticity, in particular LTD, as a direct effect of EZH2 loss and (ii) the appearance of a GABAergic gene expression signature during glutamatergic neuron differentiation. These results expand the knowledge about the molecular pathways targeted by Polycomb during glutamatergic neuron differentiation.

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