Epigenetic Inheritance of Active Chromatin After Removal of the Main Transactivator

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Science  29 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5441, pp. 955-958
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5441.955

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The Drosophila Polycomb and trithorax group proteins act through chromosomal elements such as Fab-7 to maintain repressed or active gene expression, respectively. AFab-7 element is switched from a silenced to a mitotically heritable active state by an embryonic pulse of transcription. Here, histone H4 hyperacetylation was found to be associated withFab-7 after activation, suggesting that H4 hyperacetylation may be a heritable epigenetic tag of the activated element. ActivatedFab-7 enables transcription of a gene even after withdrawal of the primary transcription factor. This feature may allow epigenetic maintenance of active states of developmental genes after decay of their early embryonic regulators.

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