Epigenetic modifiers and transcription factors contribute to developmentally programmed gene expression. Here, we establish a functional link between epigenetic regulation by Polycomb group (PcG) proteins and transcriptional regulation by C/ebp that orchestrates the correct expression of Bombyx mori asparagine synthetase (BmASNS), a gene involved in the biosynthesis of asparagine. We show that the cis-regulatory elements of YY1-binding motifs and the CpG island present on the BmASNS promoter are required for the recruitment of PcG proteins and the subsequent deposition of the epigenetic repression mark H3K27me3. RNAi-mediated knockdown of PcG genes leads to derepression of the BmASNS gene via the recruitment of activators, including BmC/ebp, to the promoter. Intriguingly, we find that PcG proteins and BmC/ebp can dynamically modulate the transcriptional output of the BmASNS target in a cell cycle-dependent manner. It will be essential to suppress BmASNS expression by PcG proteins at the G2/M phase of the cell cycle in the presence of BmC/ebp activator. Thus, our results provide a novel insight into the molecular mechanism underlying the recruitment and regulation of the PcG system at a discrete gene locus in Bombyx mori.
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