How Polycomb-Mediated Cell Memory Deals With a Changing Environment

Federica Marasca, Beatrice Bodega, Valerio Orlando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Cells and tissues are continuously exposed to a changing microenvironment, hence the necessity of a flexible modulation of gene expression that in complex organism have been achieved through specialized chromatin mechanisms. Chromatin-based cell memory enables cells to maintain their identity by fixing lineage specific transcriptional programs, ensuring their faithful transmission through cell division; in particular PcG-based memory system evolved to maintain the silenced state of developmental and cell cycle genes. In evolution the complexity of this system have increased, particularly in vertebrates, indicating combinatorial and dynamic properties of Polycomb proteins, in some cases even overflowing outside the cell nucleus. Therefore, their function may not be limited to the imposition of rigid states of genetic programs, but on the ability to recognize signals and allow plastic transcriptional changes in response to different stimuli. Here, we discuss the most novel PcG mediated memory functions in facing and responding to the challenges posed by a fluctuating environment.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1700137
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 9 2018


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