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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 1995;11:519-48.

Silencing and heritable domains of gene expression.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkley 94720, USA.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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