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Science 310 (5749): 869-872

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Tissue-Specific TAFs Counteract Polycomb to Turn on Terminal Differentiation

Xin Chen, Mark Hiller,* Yasemin Sancak,{dagger} Margaret T. Fuller{ddagger}

Abstract: Polycomb transcriptional silencing machinery is implicated in the maintenance of precursor fates, but how this repression is reversed to allow cell differentiation is unknown. Here we show that testis-specific TAF (TBP-associated factor) homologs required for terminal differentiation of male germ cells may activate target gene expression in part by counteracting repression by Polycomb. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that testis TAFs bind to target promoters, reduce Polycomb binding, and promote local accumulation of H3K4me3, a mark of Trithorax action. Testis TAFs also promoted relocalization of Polycomb Repression Complex 1 components to the nucleolus in spermatocytes, implicating subnuclear architecture in the regulation of terminal differentiation.

Departments of Developmental Biology and Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305–5329, USA.

* Present address: Department of Biological Science, Goucher College, Baltimore, MD 21204, USA.

{dagger} Present address: Biology Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 04159, USA.

{ddagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. Department of Developmental Biology, Beckman Center B300, 279 Campus Drive, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305–5329, USA. E-mail: fuller{at}

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