Regulatory elements in the minimal promoter region of the mouse Xist gene.
Sheardown SA., Newall AE., Norris DP., Rastan S., Brockdorff N.
The Xist gene plays a central role in regulating X chromosome inactivation and Xist transcription has recently been shown to be necessary for X inactivation in mouse. We are currently analysing regulation of the Xist gene in order to determine the mechanisms underlying initiation of Xist expression and X inactivation. Sequence comparisons indicate that a region of approximately 0.4 kb upstream of the the major transcriptional start site comprises the Xist minimal promoter. Analysis of reporter constructs demonstrates that the minimal promoter region is active both in embryonic stem (ES) cells and in differentiated derivatives, indicating that sequences either further upstream or downstream are required for appropriate developmental control of Xist transcription. We have examined the minimal promoter region in detail, and in addition to common promoter elements have identified two previously uncharacterised transcription-factor binding sites. Mutation of these sites in reporter constructs indicates that they are functionally important.