Parental nucleosome segregation and the inheritance of cellular identity

Nat Rev Genet. 2021 Jun;22(6):379-392. doi: 10.1038/s41576-020-00312-w. Epub 2021 Jan 26.


Gene expression programmes conferring cellular identity are achieved through the organization of chromatin structures that either facilitate or impede transcription. Among the key determinants of chromatin organization are the histone modifications that correlate with a given transcriptional status and chromatin state. Until recently, the details for the segregation of nucleosomes on DNA replication and their implications in re-establishing heritable chromatin domains remained unclear. Here, we review recent findings detailing the local segregation of parental nucleosomes and highlight important advances as to how histone methyltransferases associated with the establishment of repressive chromatin domains facilitate epigenetic inheritance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Lineage*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly*
  • DNA Replication*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Humans
  • Inheritance Patterns*
  • Nucleosomes / genetics
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism*
  • Parents


  • Nucleosomes