Silencing and heritable domains of gene expression

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 1995;11:519-48. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cb.11.110195.002511.


Silencing is a process that assembles particular regions of eukaryotic chromosomes into transcriptionally inactive chromatin structures. Silencing involves specialized regulatory sites known as silencers and a combination of general DNA-binding proteins and proteins dedicated to silencing. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, these proteins include transcription factors and the origin recognition complex (ORC). Silencing has three recognizably separate phases: establishment, maintenance, and inheritance. At least some silencers are origins of replication, and the establishment of the silenced state requires an S phase-specific event. Once established, the silenced state is heritable, even in the absence of proteins required for its establishment. The silencing of mating-type genes bears many similarities to telomere position effects, and the two processes require many of the same proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Cell Cycle
  • Chromatin / physiology
  • DNA Replication*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / physiology
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal*
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Genes, Mating Type, Fungal*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Mating Factor
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / physiology
  • Pheromones
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology*
  • Telomere
  • rap GTP-Binding Proteins


  • Chromatin
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Histones
  • Peptides
  • Pheromones
  • Mating Factor
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • rap GTP-Binding Proteins