L Wu, P Murat, D Matak-Vinkovic, A Murrell, S Balasubramanian
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play a key role in the epigenetic regulation of cells. Many of these lncRNAs function by interacting with histone repressive proteins of the Polycomb group (PcG) family, recruiting them to gene loci to facilitate silencing. Although there are now many RNAs known to interact with the PRC2 complex, little is known about the details of the molecular interactions. Here, we show that the PcG protein heterodimer EZH2-EED is necessary and sufficient for binding to the lncRNA HOTAIR. We also show that protein recognition occurs within a folded 89-mer domain of HOTAIR. This 89-mer represents a minimal binding motif, as further deletion of nucleotides results in substantial loss of affinity for PRC2. These findings provide molecular insights into an important system involved in epigenetic regulation.