Epigenetic characteristics of the mitotic chromosome in 1D and 3D

UMMS Affiliation

Program in Systems Biology; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Publication Date


Document Type



Biochemistry | Molecular Biology | Systems Biology


While chromatin characteristics in interphase are widely studied, characteristics of mitotic chromatin and their inheritance through mitosis are still poorly understood. During mitosis, chromatin undergoes dramatic changes: transcription stalls, chromatin-binding factors leave the chromatin, histone modifications change and chromatin becomes highly condensed. Many key insights into mitotic chromosome state and conformation have come from extensive microscopy studies over the last century. Over the last decade, the development of 3C-based techniques has enabled the study of higher order chromosome organization during mitosis in a genome-wide manner. During mitosis, chromosomes lose their cell type-specific and locus-dependent chromatin organization that characterizes interphase chromatin and fold into randomly positioned loop arrays. Upon exit of mitosis, cells are capable of quickly rearranging the chromosome conformation to form the cell type-specific interphase organization again. The information that enables this rearrangement after mitotic exit is thought to be encoded at least in part in mitotic bookmarks, e.g. histone modifications and variants, histone remodelers, chromatin factors, and non-coding RNA. Here we give an overview of the chromosomal organization and epigenetic characteristics of interphase and mitotic chromatin in vertebrates. Second, we describe different ways in which mitotic bookmarking enables epigenetic memory of the features of interphase chromatin through mitosis. And third, we explore the role of epigenetic modifications and mitotic bookmarking in cell differentiation.

DOI of Published Version



Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2017 Apr;52(2):185-204. doi: 10.1080/10409238.2017.1287160. Epub 2017 Feb 15. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Critical reviews in biochemistry and molecular biology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID