A Caltech Library Service

Small but sturdy: small RNAs in cellular memory and epigenetics

Stuwe, Evelyn and Fejes Tóth, Katalin and Aravin, Alexei A. (2014) Small but sturdy: small RNAs in cellular memory and epigenetics. Genes and Development, 28 (5). pp. 421-431. ISSN 0890-9369. PMCID PMC3950340.

PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Cells in multicellular organisms have distinct identities characterized by their profiles of expressed genes. Cell identities can be stable over a long time and through multiple cellular divisions but are also responsive to extracellular signals. Since the DNA sequence is identical in all cells, a "cellular memory" of expression profiles is achieved by what are defined as epigenetic mechanisms. Two major molecular principles—networks of transcription factors and maintenance of cis-chromatin modifications—have been implicated in maintaining cellular memory. Here we describe recent studies demonstrating that short noncoding RNAs can also provide molecular signals that define epigenetic states of cells. Small RNAs can act independently or cooperate with chromatin modifications to achieve long-lasting effects necessary for cellular memory and transgenerational inheritance.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Fejes Tóth, Katalin0000-0001-6558-2636
Additional Information:© 2014 Stuwe et al. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. This article is distributed exclusively by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the first six months after the full-issue publication date (see After six months, it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported), as described at We thank members of the Aravin laboratory for discussion. E.S. is supported by a Ph.D. fellowship of the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds. Work on this topic in the Aravin laboratory is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R00 HD057233, R01 GM097363, and DP2 OD007371A) and the Searle Scholar and the Packard Fellowship Awards.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Boehringer Ingelheim FondsUNSPECIFIED
NIHR00 HD057233
NIHR01 GM097363
NIHDP2 OD007371A
Searle Scholars ProgramUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Argonautes; cellular memory; epigenetics; piRNA
Issue or Number:5
PubMed Central ID:PMC3950340
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140424-085844076
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Stuwe, E., Tóth, K. F., & Aravin, A. A. (2014). Small but sturdy: small RNAs in cellular memory and epigenetics. Genes & Development, 28(5), 423-431. doi: 10.1101/gad.236414.113
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:45179
Deposited By: Aucoeur Ngo
Deposited On:25 Apr 2014 16:36
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

Repository Staff Only: item control page