Molecular Biology

Inactivating sex chromosomes

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Science  29 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6396, pp. 1417-1418
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6396.1417-d

To compensate for sex chromosome dosage, XX females undergo epigenetic inactivation (XCI) of one X chromosome. Using a mouse embryonic stem cell culture system, Sousa et al. investigated this process in vitro. Surprisingly, they found that male cells also undergo XCI, albeit transiently, at the onset of stem cell differentiation. In addition, both X chromosomes are ephemerally inactivated in female cells before one X is randomly inactivated permanently. Although it remains to be shown in vivo, these results suggest gender-independent XCI initiation and additional, unknown female-specific mechanisms to maintain XCI.

Cell Stem Cell 10.1016/j.stem.2018.05.001 (2018).

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