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Cell. 2000 Sep 29;103(1):17-27.

Disruption of imprinted X inactivation by parent-of-origin effects at Tsix.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


In marsupials and in extraembryonic tissues of placental mammals, X inactivation is imprinted to occur on the paternal chromosome. Here, we find that imprinting is controlled by the antisense Xist gene, Tsix. Tsix is maternally expressed and mice carrying a Tsix deletion show normal paternal but impaired maternal transmission. Maternal inheritance occurs infrequently, with surviving progeny showing intrauterine growth retardation and reduced fertility. Transmission ratio distortion results from disrupted imprinting and postimplantation loss of mutant embryos. In contrast to effects in embryonic stem cells, deleting Tsix causes ectopic X inactivation in early male embryos and inactivation of both X chromosomes in female embryos, indicating that X chromosome counting cannot override Tsix imprinting. These results highlight differences between imprinted and random X inactivation but show that Tsix regulates both. We propose that an imprinting center lies within Tsix.

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