A set of key developmental genes is essential for skeletal growth from multipotent progenitor cells at weaning. Polycomb group proteins, which regulate such genes contributes to the cell lineage commitment and subsequent differentiation via epigenetic chromatin modification and remodeling. However, it is unclear which cell lineage and gene sets are targeted by polycomb proteins during skeletal growth. We now report that mice deficient in a polycomb group gene Cbx2cterm/cterm exhibited skeletal hypoplasia in the tibia, femur, and cranium. Long bone cavities in these mice contained fewer multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells. RNA-sequencing of bone marrow cells showed downregulation and upregulation of osteoblastic and adipogenic genes, respectively. Furthermore, the expression levels of genes specifically expressed in B-cell precursors were decreased. Forced expression of Cbx2 in Cbx2cterm/cterm bone marrow stromal cell recovered fibroblastic colony formation and suppressed adipogenic differentiation. Collectively, our results suggest that Cbx2 controls the maintenance and adipogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells in the bone marrow.
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