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PRC1 Prevents Replication Stress during Chondrogenic Transit Amplification

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Transit amplification (TA), a state of combined, rapid proliferative expansion and differentiation of stem cell-descendants, remains poorly defined at the molecular level. The Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 (PRC1) protein BMI1 has been localized to TA compartments, yet its exact role in TA is unclear. PRC1 proteins control gene expression, cell proliferation and DNA-damage repair. Coordination of such DNA-templated activities during TA is predicted to be crucial to support DNA replication and differentiation-associated transcriptional programming. We here examined whether chondrogenesis provides a relevant biological context for synchronized coordination of these chromatin-based tasks by BMI1. Taking advantage of a prominently featuring TA-phase during chondrogenesis in vitro and in vivo, we here report that TA is completely dependent on intact PRC1 function. BMI1-depleted chondrogenic progenitors rapidly accumulate double strand DNA breaks during DNA replication, present massive non-H3K27me3-directed transcriptional deregulation and fail to undergo chondrogenic TA. Genome-wide accumulation of Topoisomerase 2 alpha and Geminin suggests a model in which PRC1 synchronizes replication and transcription during rapid chondrogenic progenitor expansion. Our combined data reveals for the first time a vital cell-autonomous role for PRC1 during chondrogenesis. We provide evidence that chondrocyte hyper-replication and hypertrophy represent a unique example of programmed senescence in vivo. These findings provide new perspectives on PRC1 function in development and disease.

    Research areas

  • polycomb, topoisomerase, transit amplification, chromatin, DNA replication, transcription, chondrogenesis, differentiation, DNA damage, hypertrophy, senescence
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Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Number of pages31
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017