MHC class I (MHC-I) molecules are critical for CD8+ T cell responses to viral infections and malignant cells, and tumors can downregulate MHC-I expression to promote immune evasion. In this study, using a genome-wide CRISPR screen on a human melanoma cell line, we identified the polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) subunit PCGF1 and the deubiquitinating enzyme BAP1 as opposite regulators of MHC-I transcription. PCGF1 facilitates deposition of ubiquitin at H2AK119 at the MHC-I promoters to silence MHC-I, whereas BAP1 removes this modification to restore MHC-I expression. PCGF1 is widely expressed in tumors and its depletion increased MHC-I expression in multiple tumor lines, including MHC-Ilow tumors. In cells characterized by poor MHC-I expression, PRC1 and PRC2 act in parallel to impinge low transcription. However, PCGF1 depletion was sufficient to increase MHC-I expression and restore T cell–mediated killing of the tumor cells. Taken together, our data provide an additional layer of regulation of MHC-I expression in tumors: epigenetic silencing by PRC1 subunit PCGF1.

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