Director of BioFrontiers Institute
University of Colorado, Boulder
Host: Jim Manley
Title: RNA-Protein Interactions Regulate Epigenetic Silencing and Cardiomyocyte Differentiation
Abstract: Many nuclear DNA-binding proteins also bind RNA, often inexplicably. For example, the histone methyltransferase Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) binds nuclear RNAs with high affinity and limited specificity, but it has been highly controversial whether these interactions are functionally important. We have used CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing to introduce an RNA-binding-defective mutant PRC2 into human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and find that the mutant iPSCs have a striking defect in cardiomyocyte differentiation. Genome-wide analyses reveal how RNA binding is essential for maintaining epigenetic repression.