Polycomb and Trithorax Group Genes in Drosophila

Judith A Kassis, James A Kennison, John W Tamkun
Genetics 2017, 206 (4): 1699-1725
Polycomb group (PcG) and Trithorax group (TrxG) genes encode important regulators of development and differentiation in metazoans. These two groups of genes were discovered in Drosophila by their opposing effects on homeotic gene (Hox) expression. PcG genes collectively behave as genetic repressors of Hox genes, while the TrxG genes are necessary for HOX gene expression or function. Biochemical studies showed that many PcG proteins are present in two protein complexes, Polycomb repressive complexes 1 and 2, which repress transcription via chromatin modifications. TrxG proteins activate transcription via a variety of mechanisms. Here we summarize the large body of genetic and biochemical experiments in Drosophila on these two important groups of genes.

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