Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Cell Biol. 1996 Feb;132(3):259-75.

XIST RNA paints the inactive X chromosome at interphase: evidence for a novel RNA involved in nuclear/chromosome structure.

Author information

  • 1Department of Cell Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester 01655, USA.


The XIST gene is implicated in X chromosome inactivation, yet the RNA contains no apparent open reading frame. An accumulation of XIST RNA is observed near its site of transcription, the inactive X chromosome (Xi). A series of molecular cytogenetic studies comparing properties of XIST RNA to other protein coding RNAs, support a critical distinction for XIST RNA; XIST does not concentrate at Xi simply because it is transcribed and processed there. Most notably, morphometric and 3-D analysis reveals that XIST RNA and Xi are coincident in 2- and 3-D space; hence, the XIST RNA essentially paints Xi. Several results indicate that the XIST RNA accumulation has two components, a minor one associated with transcription and processing, and a spliced major component, which stably associates with Xi. Upon transcriptional inhibition the major spliced component remains in the nucleus and often encircles the extra-prominent heterochromatic Barr body. The continually transcribed XIST gene and its polyadenylated RNA consistently localize to a nuclear region devoid of splicing factor/poly A RNA rich domains. XIST RNA remains with the nuclear matrix fraction after removal of chromosomal DNA. XIST RNA is released from its association with Xi during mitosis, but shows a unique highly particulate distribution. Collective results indicate that XIST RNA may be an architectural element of the interphase chromosome territory, possibly a component of nonchromatin nuclear structure that specifically associates with Xi. XIST RNA is a novel nuclear RNA which potentially provides a specific precedent for RNA involvement in nuclear structure and cis-limited gene regulation via higher-order chromatin packaging.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk