Inheritance of epigenetic transcriptional memory through read-write replication of a histone modification

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3 Scopus citations


Epigenetic transcriptional regulation frequently requires histone modifications. Some, but not all, of these modifications are able to template their own inheritance. Here, I discuss the molecular mechanisms by which histone modifications can be inherited and relate these ideas to new results about epigenetic transcriptional memory, a phenomenon that poises recently repressed genes for faster reactivation and has been observed in diverse organisms. Recently, we found that the histone H3 lysine 4 dimethylation that is associated with this phenomenon plays a critical role in sustaining memory and, when factors critical for the establishment of memory are inactivated, can be stably maintained through multiple mitoses. This chromatin-mediated inheritance mechanism may involve a physical interaction between an H3K4me2 reader, SET3C, and an H3K4me2 writer, Spp1- COMPASS. This is the first example of a chromatin-mediated inheritance of a mark that promotes transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023


  • chromatin
  • epigenetics
  • memory
  • transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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