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Cell Cycle. 2012 Jan 15;11(2):229-35. doi: 10.4161/cc.11.2.18998. Epub 2012 Jan 15.

The lesser known story of X chromosome reactivation: a closer look into the reprogramming of the inactive X chromosome.

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Department of Genetics, Yale Stem Cell Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) is an important mechanism employed by mammalian XX female cells to level X-linked gene expression with that of male XY cells. XCI occurs early in development as the pluripotent cells of the inner cell mass (ICM) in blastocysts successively differentiate into cells of all three germ layers. X-chromosome reactivation (XCR), the reversal of XCI, is critical for germ cell formation as a mechanism to diversify the X-chromosome gene pool. Here we review the characterization of XCR, and further explore its natural occurrence during development and the in vitro models of cellular reprogramming. We also review the key regulators involved in XCI for their role in suppressing the active histone marks and the genes in the active chromosome for their inhibition of X inactivation signals.

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