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Chromosoma. 2014 Oct;123(5):481-9. doi: 10.1007/s00412-014-0461-1. Epub 2014 May 13.

X chromosome regulation of autosomal gene expression in bovine blastocysts.

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Department of Integrative Biology & Physiology, University of California, 610 Charles E. Young Drive South, Room 1146, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-7239, USA.


Although X chromosome inactivation in female mammals evolved to balance the expression of X chromosome and autosomal genes in the two sexes, female embryos pass through developmental stages in which both X chromosomes are active in somatic cells. Bovine blastocysts show higher expression of many X genes in XX than XY embryos, suggesting that X inactivation is not complete. Here, we reanalyzed bovine blastocyst microarray expression data from a network perspective with a focus on interactions between X chromosome and autosomal genes. Whereas male-to-female ratios of expression of autosomal genes were distributed around a mean of 1, X chromosome genes were clearly shifted towards higher expression in females. We generated gene coexpression networks and identified a major module of genes with correlated gene expression that includes female-biased X genes and sexually dimorphic autosomal genes for which the sexual dimorphism is likely driven by the X genes. In this module, expression of X chromosome genes correlates with autosome genes, more than the expression of autosomal genes with each other. Our study identifies correlated patterns of autosomal and X-linked genes that are likely influenced by the sexual imbalance of X gene expression when X inactivation is inefficient.

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