Context is everything: activators can also repress.
Maintenance of genome integrity, cell division and gene expression have all been shown to be regulated by the condensation of DNA into heterochromatin. In a study published in this issue, Bulut-Karslioglu et al. reveal a new heterochromatin function for transcription factors in a mammalian system. They show that instead of activating gene expression, in the context of heterochromatic repeats, specific transcription factors are necessary for the maintenance of transcriptional repression and heterochromatin.