Function and regulation of transcription factors during mitosis-to-G1 transition

Mário A. F. Soares*, Raquel A. Oliveira, Diogo S. Castro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


During cell division, drastic cellular changes characteristic of mitosis result in the inactivation of the transcriptional machinery, and global downregulation of transcription. Sequence-specific transcription factors (TFs) have thus been considered mere bystanders, devoid of any regulatory function during mitosis. This view changed significantly in recent years, upon the conclusion that many TFs associate with condensed chromosomes during cell division, even occupying a fraction of their genomic target sites in mitotic chromatin. This finding was at the origin of the concept of mitotic bookmarking by TFs, proposed as a mechanism to propagate gene regulatory information across cell divisions, by facilitating the reactivation of specific bookmarked genes. While the underlying mechanisms and biological significance of this model remain elusive, recent developments in this fast-moving field have cast new light into TF activity during mitosis, beyond a bookmarking role. Here, we start by reviewing the most recent findings on the complex nature of TF chromatin interactions during mitosis, and on mechanisms that may regulate them. Next, and in light of recent reports describing how transcription is reinitiated in temporally distinct waves during mitosis-to-G1 transition, we explore how TFs may contribute to defining this hierarchical gene expression process. Finally, we discuss how TF activity during mitotic exit may impact the acquisition of cell identity upon cell division, and propose a model that integrates dynamic changes in TF chromatin interactions during this cell-cycle period, with the execution of cell-fate decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number220062
JournalOpen biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Chromatin
  • Electrostatic interactions
  • Mitosis-To-G1 transition
  • Mitotic bookmarking
  • Sequence-specific binding
  • Transcription factor


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