Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is a key chromatin modifier responsible for methylation of lysine 27 in histone H3. PRC2 has been shown to interact with thousands of RNA species in vivo, but understanding the physiological function of RNA binding has been hampered by the lack of separation-of-function mutants. Here, we use comprehensive mutagenesis and hydrogen deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) to identify critical residues for RNA interaction in PRC2 core complexes from Homo sapiens and Chaetomium thermophilum, for which crystal structures are known. Preferential binding of G-quadruplex RNA is conserved, surprisingly using different protein elements. Key RNA-binding residues are spread out along the surface of EZH2, with other subunits including EED also contributing, and missense mutations of some of these residues have been found in cancer patients. The unusual nature of this protein-RNA interaction provides a paradigm for other epigenetic modifiers that bind RNA without canonical RNA-binding motifs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)