Heterochromatin maintenance and establishment: lessons from the mouse pericentromere

Nucleus. Sep-Oct 2011;2(5):332-8. doi: 10.4161/nucl.2.5.17707. Epub 2011 Sep 1.


Defined as a chromatin structure that remains condensed throughout the cell cycle heterochromatin is generally transcriptionally silent and is characterized by a specific molecular signature. Constitutive heterochromatin at the pericentromere is a conserved feature throughout evolution, which impacts genome stability. Here, we will summarize recent advances in our understanding of the dynamics of mouse pericentric heterochromatin during the cell cycle and development. Comparison with heterochromatin maintenance in fission yeast will enable discussions of the common basic principles and various mechanisms exploited in the distinct organisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Centromere / metabolism
  • Centromere / physiology*
  • Heterochromatin / metabolism
  • Heterochromatin / physiology*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Mice
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces / physiology


  • Heterochromatin
  • Histones
  • RNA, Untranslated