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Nat Rev Genet. 2011 Jun;12(6):429-42. doi: 10.1038/nrg2987.

Regulation of X-chromosome inactivation by the X-inactivation centre.

Author information

1] Mammalian Developmental Epigenetics Group, Unit of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Institut Curie, CNRS UMR3215, INSERM U934, Paris F-75248, France. [2].


X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) ensures dosage compensation in mammals and is a paradigm for allele-specific gene expression on a chromosome-wide scale. Important insights have been made into the developmental dynamics of this process. Recent studies have identified several cis- and trans-acting factors that regulate the initiation of XCI via the X-inactivation centre. Such studies have shed light on the relationship between XCI and pluripotency. They have also revealed the existence of dosage-dependent activators that trigger XCI when more than one X chromosome is present, as well as possible mechanisms underlying the monoallelic regulation of this process. The recent discovery of the plasticity of the inactive state during early development, or during cloning, and induced pluripotency have also contributed to the X chromosome becoming a gold standard in reprogramming studies.

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