Although the genome is generally thought to be transcriptionally silent during mitosis, technical limitations have prevented sensitive mapping of transcription during mitosis and mitotic exit. Thus, the means by which the interphase expression pattern is transduced to daughter cells have been unclear. We used 5-ethynyluridine to pulse-label transcripts during mitosis and mitotic exit and found that many genes exhibit transcription during mitosis, as confirmed with fluorescein isothiocyanate–uridine 5′-triphosphate labeling, RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization, and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. The first round of transcription immediately after mitosis primarily activates genes involved in the growth and rebuilding of daughter cells, rather than cell type–specific functions. We propose that the cell’s transcription pattern is largely retained at a low level through mitosis, whereas the amplitude of transcription observed in interphase is reestablished during mitotic exit.
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