Stabilization of Xist RNA mediates initiation of X chromosome inactivation.
Sheardown SA., Duthie SM., Johnston CM., Newall AE., Formstone EJ., Arkell RM., Nesterova TB., Alghisi GC., Rastan S., Brockdorff N.
The onset of X inactivation is preceded by a marked increase in the level of Xist RNA. Here we demonstrate that increased stability of Xist RNA is the primary determinant of developmental up-regulation. Unstable transcript is produced by both alleles in XX ES cells and in XX embryos prior to the onset of random X inactivation. Following differentiation, transcription of unstable RNA from the active X chromosome allele continues for a period following stabilization and accumulation of transcript on the inactive X allele. We discuss the implications of these findings in terms of models for the initiation of random and imprinted X inactivation.