Mitotic partitioning of transcription factors



Mitosis is a highly orchestrated process involving numerous protein kinases and phosphatases. At the onset of mitosis, the chromatin condensation into metaphase chromosomes is correlated with global phosphorylation of histone H3. The bulk of transcription is silenced while many of the transcription-associated proteins, including transcription and chromatin remodeling factors, are excluded from chromatin, typically as a consequence of their phosphorylation. Components of the transcription machinery and regulatory proteins are recycled and equally partitioned between newly divided cells by mechanisms that may involve microtubules, microfilaments or intermediate filaments. However, as demonstrated in the case of Runx2, a subset of transcription factors involved in lineage-specific control, likely remain associated with their target genes to direct the deposition or removal of epigenetic marks. The displacement and re-entry into daughter cells of transcription and chromatin remodeling factors are temporally defined and regulated. Reformation of daughter nuclei is a critical time to re-establish the proper gene expression pattern. The mechanisms involved in the marking and re-establishment of gene expression has been elucidated for few genes. The elucidation of how the memory of a programmed expression profile is transmitted to daughter cells represents a challenge. J. Cell. Biochem. 105: 1–8, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.