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X inactivation in female mammals is one of the best studied examples of heritable gene silencing and provides an important model for studying maintenance of patterns of gene expression during differentiation and development. The process is initiated by a cis-acting RNA, the X inactive specific transcript (Xist). Xist RNA is thought to recruit silencing complexes to the inactive X, which then serve to establish and maintain the inactive state in all subsequent cell divisions. Most lineages undergo random X inactivation, there being an equal probability of either the maternally (Xm) or paternally (Xp) inherited X chromosome being inactivated in a given cell. In the extraembryonic trophectoderm and primitive endoderm lineages of mouse embryos, however, there is imprinted X inactivation of Xp. This process is also Xist dependent. A recent study has shown that imprinted X inactivation in trophectoderm is not maintained in embryonic ectoderm development (eed) mutant mice. Here we show that Eed and a second Polycomb group protein, Enx1, are directly localized to the inactive X chromosome in XX trophoblast stem (TS) cells. The association of Eed/Enx1 complexes is mitotically stable, suggesting a mechanism for the maintenance of imprinted X inactivation in these cells.


Journal article


Curr Biol

Publication Date





1016 - 1020


Animals, Cell Line, Dosage Compensation, Genetic, Female, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred CBA, Mitosis, Polycomb Repressive Complex 2, Polycomb-Group Proteins, Repressor Proteins, Stem Cells, Trophoblasts, X Chromosome