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Chromosoma. 2007 Aug;116(4):373-83. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

XIST RNA exhibits nuclear retention and exhibits reduced association with the export factor TAP/NXF1.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, Genentech Hall, Room S372B, 600 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94143-2200, USA.


During splicing and polyadenylation, factors that stimulate export from the nucleus are recruited to nascent mRNAs. X-inactive specific transcript (XIST) RNA is unusual among capped, spliced, polyadenylated transcripts in that it accumulates exclusively in the nucleus. It is well established that, at steady state levels, XIST RNA is primarily nuclear. However, it was unknown whether XIST RNA spends its entire lifetime in the nucleus (nuclear retention) or passes briefly through the cytoplasm during maturation, like many other functional RNAs. In this study, we present the first evidence that XIST RNA exhibits nuclear retention. We report that a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-XIST fusion RNA is detected in the nucleus and not the cytoplasm, and GFP is not translated. XIST RNA does not shuttle in a heterokaryon assay or move between chromosomes in the same nucleus when expressed at wild-type levels. These results indicate that XIST RNA's nuclear localization is mediated by nuclear retention rather than export followed by import. We present evidence that the export factor TAP/NXF1 binds poorly to XIST RNA in comparison to exported mRNAs, suggesting that reduced TAP/NFX1 binding may contribute to nuclear retention of XIST RNA.

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