Heterochromatin: new possibilities for the inheritance of structure

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2002 Apr;12(2):178-87. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(02)00284-8.


Significant portions of the eukaryotic genome are heterochromatic, made up largely of repetitious sequences and possessing a distinctive chromatin structure associated with gene silencing. New insights into the form of packaging, the associated histone modifications, and the associated nonhistone chromosomal proteins of heterochromatin have suggested a mechanism for providing an epigenetic mark that allows this distinctive chromatin structure to be maintained following replication and to spread within a given domain.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / physiology
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Fungal Proteins / physiology
  • Gene Silencing / physiology
  • Heterochromatin / chemistry
  • Heterochromatin / genetics*
  • Heterochromatin / physiology
  • Histones / physiology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Heterochromatin
  • Histones
  • SWI6 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • heterochromatin-specific nonhistone chromosomal protein HP-1