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Genetics. 2012 Nov;192(3):1095-107. doi: 10.1534/genetics.112.144477. Epub 2012 Aug 10.

Nonrandom X chromosome inactivation is influenced by multiple regions on the murine X chromosome.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


During the development of female mammals, one of the two X chromosomes is inactivated, serving as a dosage-compensation mechanism to equalize the expression of X-linked genes in females and males. While the choice of which X chromosome to inactivate is normally random, X chromosome inactivation can be skewed in F1 hybrid mice, as determined by alleles at the X chromosome controlling element (Xce), a locus defined genetically by Cattanach over 40 years ago. Four Xce alleles have been defined in inbred mice in order of the tendency of the X chromosome to remain active: Xce(a) < Xce(b) < Xce(c) < Xce(d). While the identity of the Xce locus remains unknown, previous efforts to map sequences responsible for the Xce effect in hybrid mice have localized the Xce to candidate regions that overlap the X chromosome inactivation center (Xic), which includes the Xist and Tsix genes. Here, we have intercrossed 129S1/SvImJ, which carries the Xce(a) allele, and Mus musculus castaneus EiJ, which carries the Xce(c) allele, to generate recombinant lines with single or double recombinant breakpoints near or within the Xce candidate region. In female progeny of 129S1/SvImJ females mated to recombinant males, we have measured the X chromosome inactivation ratio using allele-specific expression assays of genes on the X chromosome. We have identified regions, both proximal and distal to Xist/Tsix, that contribute to the choice of which X chromosome to inactivate, indicating that multiple elements on the X chromosome contribute to the Xce.

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