Gao Z, Lee P, Stafford JM, von Schimmelmann M, Schaefer A, Reinberg D
Naturally occurring variations of Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) comprise a core assembly of Polycomb group proteins and additional factors that include, surprisingly, autism susceptibility candidate 2 (AUTS2). Although AUTS2 is often disrupted in patients with neuronal disorders, the mechanism underlying the pathogenesis is unclear. We investigated the role of AUTS2 as part of a previously identified PRC1 complex (PRC1-AUTS2), and in the context of neurodevelopment. In contrast to the canonical role of PRC1 in gene repression, PRC1-AUTS2 activates transcription. Biochemical studies demonstrate that the CK2 component of PRC1-AUTS2 neutralizes PRC1 repressive activity, whereas AUTS2-mediated recruitment of P300 leads to gene activation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-seq) demonstrated that AUTS2 regulates neuronal gene expression through promoter association. Conditional targeting of Auts2 in the mouse central nervous system (CNS) leads to various developmental defects. These findings reveal a natural means of subverting PRC1 activity, linking key epigenetic modulators with neuronal functions and diseases.