Role of chromatin states in transcriptional memory

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Jun;1790(6):445-55. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2009.02.009. Epub 2009 Feb 21.


Establishment of cellular memory and its faithful propagation is critical for successful development of multicellular organisms. As pluripotent cells differentiate, choices in cell fate are inherited and maintained by their progeny throughout the lifetime of the organism. A major factor in this process is the epigenetic inheritance of specific transcriptional states or transcriptional memory. In this review, we discuss chromatin transitions and mechanisms by which they are inherited by subsequent generations. We also discuss illuminating cases of cellular memory in budding yeast and evaluate whether transcriptional memory in yeast is nuclear or cytoplasmically inherited.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Chromatin* / chemistry
  • Chromatin* / metabolism
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Gene Silencing
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Saccharomycetales / genetics
  • Saccharomycetales / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Histones
  • SWI-SNF-B chromatin-remodeling complex
  • Transcription Factors