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Nat Genet. 2001 Aug;28(4):371-5.

Imprinted X inactivation maintained by a mouse Polycomb group gene.

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Department of Genetics, CB 7264, The University of North Carolina, 102 Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7264, USA.


In mammals, dosage compensation of X-linked genes is achieved by the transcriptional silencing of one X chromosome in the female (reviewed in ref. 1). This process, called X inactivation, is usually random in the embryo proper. In marsupials and the extra-embryonic region of the mouse, however, X inactivation is imprinted: the paternal X chromosome is preferentially inactivated whereas the maternal X is always active. Having more than one active X chromosome is deleterious to extra-embryonic development in the mouse. Here we show that the gene eed (embryonic ectoderm development), a member of the mouse Polycomb group (Pc-G) of genes, is required for primary and secondary trophoblast giant cell development in female embryos. Results from mice carrying a paternally inherited X-linked green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgene implicate eed in the stable maintenance of imprinted X inactivation in extra-embryonic tissues. Based on the recent finding that the Eed protein interacts with histone deacetylases, we suggest that this maintenance activity involves hypoacetylation of the inactivated paternal X chromosome in the extra-embryonic tissues.

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