Ouch! Skinned knees and paper cuts are a fact of life—we’ve certainly had our share. But we’d never wondered what was going on in those wounds, unlike Paul Martin and Tanya Shaw at the University of Bristol. They have realized that wound healing is similar to embryogenesis, a process in which epigenetic mods are commonplace.
Recently, they found that polycomb group proteins (PcGs), which help regulate embryonic gene expression, also are involved in wound repair. Basically, when you get a boo-boo, PcGs leave town.
Here’s the scoop:
- The repressive mark H3K27me3 was reduced in wounded mouse skin.
- The PcGs Eed, Ezh2, and Suz12 (which add methyl groups to H3K27) were significantly down-regulated, but Jmjd3 and Utx (which remove methyl groups from H3K27) were up-regulated during repair.
- Injured tissue had diminished levels of Eed on regulatory regions of Myc and Egfr—genes known to be involved in wound healing.
Check out the whole story at EMBO Reports, July 2009.