A permissive chromatin environment coupled to hypertranscription drives the rapid proliferation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and peri-implantation embryos. We carried out a genome-wide screen to systematically dissect the regulation of the euchromatic state of ESCs. The results revealed that cellular growth pathways, most prominently translation, perpetuate the euchromatic state and hypertranscription of ESCs. Acute inhibition of translation rapidly depletes euchromatic marks in mouse ESCs and blastocysts, concurrent with delocalization of RNA polymerase II and reduction in nascent transcription. Translation inhibition promotes rewiring of chromatin accessibility, which decreases at a subset of active developmental enhancers and increases at histone genes and transposable elements. Proteome-scale analyses revealed that several euchromatin regulators are unstable proteins and continuously depend on a high translational output. We propose that this mechanistic interdependence of euchromatin, transcription, and translation sets the pace of proliferation at peri-implantation and may be employed by other stem/progenitor cells.
The Polycomb repressive complexes PRC1 and PRC2 play a central role in developmental gene regulation in multicellular organisms. PRC1 and PRC2 modify chromatin by catalysing histone H2A lysine 119 ubiquitylation (H2AK119u1), and H3 lysine 27 methylation (H3K27me3), respectively. Reciprocal crosstalk between these modifications is critical for the formation of stable Polycomb domains at target gene loci. While the molecular mechanism for recognition of H3K27me3 by PRC1 is well defined, the interaction of PRC2 with H2AK119u1 is poorly understood. Here we demonstrate a critical role for the PRC2 cofactor Jarid2 in mediating the interaction of PRC2 with H2AK119u1. We identify a ubiquitin interaction motif at the amino-terminus of Jarid2, and demonstrate that this domain facilitates PRC2 localization to H2AK119u1 both in vivo and in vitro. Our findings ascribe a critical function to Jarid2 and define a key mechanism that links PRC1 and PRC2 in the establishment of Polycomb domains.