Programming off and on states in chromatin: mechanisms of Polycomb and trithorax group complexes

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2002 Apr;12(2):210-8. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(02)00288-5.


Polycomb and trithorax group proteins are evolutionarily conserved chromatin components that maintain stable states of gene expression. Recent studies have identified and characterized several multiprotein complexes containing these transcriptional regulators. Advances in understanding molecular activities of these complexes in vitro, and functional domains present in their subunits, suggest that they control transcription through multistep mechanisms that involve nucleosome modification, chromatin remodeling, and interaction with general transcription factors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Euchromatin / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Heterochromatin / physiology*
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 1
  • Transcription Factors*


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