BMB Reports 2019; 52(2): 127-132
Epigenetic memory in gene regulation and immune response
Min Young Kim1,#, Ji Eun Lee1,#, Lark Kyun Kim2,* and TaeSoo Kim1,*
1Department of Life Science and the Research Center for Cellular Homeostasis, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, 2Severance Biomedical Science Institute and BK21 PLUS Project to Medical Sciences, Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 06230, Korea
Correspondence to: Lark Kyun Kim, Tel: +82-2-2019-5402; Fax: +82-2-2019-5210; E-mail:
TaeSoo Kim, Tel: +82-2-3277-6807; Fax: +82-2-3277-3760; E-mail:
#These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: October 10, 2018; Published online: February 28, 2019.
© Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. All rights reserved.

cc This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Cells must fine-tune their gene expression programs for optimal cellular activities in their natural growth conditions. Transcriptional memory, a unique transcriptional response, plays a pivotal role in faster reactivation of genes upon environmental changes, and is facilitated if genes were previously in an active state. Hyper-activation of gene expression by transcriptional memory is critical for cellular differentiation, development, and adaptation. TREM (Transcriptional REpression Memory), a distinct type of transcriptional memory, promoting hyper-repression of unnecessary genes, upon environmental changes has been recently reported. These two transcriptional responses may optimize specific gene expression patterns, in rapidly changing environments. Emerging evidence suggests that they are also critical for immune responses. In addition to memory B and T cells, innate immune cells are transcriptionally hyperactivated by restimulation, with the same or different pathogens known as trained immunity. In this review, we briefly summarize recent progress in chromatin-based regulation of transcriptional memory, and its potential role in immune responses.
Keywords: H3K4me3, Rpd3L HDAC, Trained Immunity, Transcriptional memory, Transcriptional Repression Memory (TREM)
Fig. 3. Transcriptional memory in immune cells. (A) Monocyte exposed to immune stimulation such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or beta-glucan exhibits different levels of H3K4me1, H3K4me3 and H3K27ac globally even after differentiation into macrophage. (B) Effector T cell exhibits transcriptional memory upon 2nd stimulation. At that time, the chromosomal allelic pairing and Pol II pausing are occurred at locus of the related genes, which lead to bi-allelic RNA expression and finally rapid gene expression.

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