Distinct histone methylation and transcription profiles are established during the development of cellular quiescence in yeast.
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Quiescent cells have a low level of gene activity compared to growing cells. Using a yeast model for cellular quiescence, we defined the genome-wide profiles of three species of histone methylation associated with active transcription between growing and quiescent cells, and correlated these profiles with the presence of RNA polymerase II and transcripts.Quiescent cells retained histone methylations normally associated with transcriptionally active chromatin and had many transcripts in common with growing cells. Quiescent cells also contained significant levels of RNA polymerase II, but only low levels of the canonical initiating and elongating forms of the polymerase. The RNA polymerase II associated with genes in quiescent cells displayed a distinct occupancy profile compared to its pattern of occupancy across genes in actively growing cells. Although transcription is generally repressed in quiescent cells, analysis of individual genes identified a period of active transcription during the development of quiescence.The data suggest that the transcript profile and histone methylation marks in quiescent cells were established both in growing cells and during the development of quiescence and then retained in these cells. Together, this might ensure that quiescent cells can rapidly adapt to a changing environment to resume growth.