Mechanisms of transcriptional memory

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2001 Jun;2(6):409-21. doi: 10.1038/35073039.


How can the same gene remember that it is 'off' in one cell lineage and 'on' in another? Studies of how homeotic genes are regulated in Drosophila melanogaster have uncovered a transcriptional maintenance system, encoded by the Polycomb and trithorax group genes, that preserves expression patterns across development. Here we try to formulate a broad framework for the types of molecular mechanism used by the Polycomb and trithorax proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 1
  • Transcription Factors*
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Pc protein, Drosophila
  • Transcription Factors
  • Trl protein, Drosophila
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 1