Pygo is a nuclear protein containing two conserved domains, NHD and PHD, which play important roles in embryonic development and carcinogenesis. Pygo was first identified as a core component of the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway. However, it has also been reported that the function of Pygo is not always Wnt/β-catenin signalling dependent. In this review, we summarise the functions of both domains of Pygo and show that their functions are synergetic. The PHD domain mainly combines with transcription co-factors, including histone 3 and Bcl9/9l. The NHD domain mainly recruits histone methyltransferase/acetyltransferase (HMT/HAT) to modify lysine 4 of the histone 3 tail (H3K4) and interacts with Chip/LIM-domain DNA-binding proteins (ChiLS) to form enhanceosomes to regulate transcriptional activity. Furthermore, we summarised chromatin modification differences of Pygo in Drosophila (dPygo) and vertebrates, and found that Pygo displayes a chromatin silencing function in Drosophila, while in vertebates, Pygo has a chromatin-activating function due to the two substitution of two amino acid residues. Next, we confirmed the relationship between Pygo and Bcl9/9l and found that Pygo–Bcl/9l are specifically partnered both in the nucleus and in the cytoplasm. Finally, we discuss whether transcriptional activity of Pygo is Wnt/β-catenin dependent during embryonic development. Available information indications that the transcriptional activity of Pygo in embryonic development is either Wnt/β-catenin dependent or independent in both tissue-specific and cell-specific-modes.

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