Abstract: Many of the cells in our bodies are quiescent, that is, temporarily not dividing. Under certain physiological conditions such as during tissue repair and maintenance, quiescent cells receive the appropriate stimulus and are induced to enter the cell cycle. The ability of cells to successfully transition into and out of a quiescent state is crucial for many biological processes including wound healing, stem cell maintenance, and immunological responses. Across species and tissues, transcriptional, epigenetic, and chromosomal changes associated with the transition between proliferation and quiescence have been analyzed, and some consistent changes associated with quiescence have been identified. Histone modifications have been shown to play a role in chromatin packing and accessibility, nucleosome mobility, gene expression, and chromosome arrangement. In this review, we critically evaluate the role of different histone marks in these processes during quiescence entry and exit. We consider different model systems for quiescence, each of the most frequently monitored candidate histone marks, and the role of their writers, erasers and readers. We highlight data that support these marks contributing to the changes observed with quiescence. We specifically ask whether there is a quiescence histone "code," a mechanism whereby the language encoded by specific combinations of histone marks is read and relayed downstream to modulate cell state and function. We conclude by highlighting emerging technologies that can be applied to gain greater insight into the role of a histone code for quiescence.
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