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Mol Cell. 2001 Sep;8(3):489-98.

Common themes in mechanisms of gene silencing.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The assembly of DNA into regions of inaccessible chromatin, called silent chromatin, is involved in the regulation of gene expression and maintenance of chromosome stability in eukaryotes. Recent studies on Sir2-containing silencing complexes in budding yeast and HP1- and Swi6-containing silencing complexes in metazoans and fission yeast suggest a common mechanism for the assembly of these domains, which involves the physical coupling of histone modifying enzymes to histone binding proteins.

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