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Cell. 1998 Sep 18;94(6):809-17.

Developmentally regulated Xist promoter switch mediates initiation of X inactivation.

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MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Developmental regulation of the mouse Xist gene at the onset of X chromosome inactivation is mediated by RNA stabilization. Here, we show that alternate promoter usage gives rise to distinct stable and unstable RNA isoforms. Unstable Xist transcript initiates at a novel upstream promoter, whereas stable Xist RNA is transcribed from the previously identified promoter and from a novel downstream promoter. Analysis of cells undergoing X inactivation indicates that a developmentally regulated promoter switch mediates stabilization and accumulation of Xist RNA on the inactive X chromosome.

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