Xist recruits the X chromosome to the nuclear lamina to enable chromosome-wide silencing

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Science  28 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6311, pp. 468-472
DOI: 10.1126/science.aae0047

Plunging into a domain of silence

Female mammals have two X chromosomes. One must be silenced to “balance” gene dosage with male XY cells. The Xist long noncoding RNA coats the inactive X chromosome in female mammalian cells. Chen et al. show that the Xist RNA helps recruit the X chromosome to the internal rim of the cell nucleus, a region where gene expression is silenced. Xist is recruited to the domain through an interaction with the Lamin B receptor. This recruitment allows the Xist RNA to spread across the future inactive X chromosome, shutting down gene expression.

Science, this issue p. 468


The Xist long noncoding RNA orchestrates X chromosome inactivation, a process that entails chromosome-wide silencing and remodeling of the three-dimensional (3D) structure of the X chromosome. Yet, it remains unclear whether these changes in nuclear structure are mediated by Xist and whether they are required for silencing. Here, we show that Xist directly interacts with the Lamin B receptor, an integral component of the nuclear lamina, and that this interaction is required for Xist-mediated silencing by recruiting the inactive X to the nuclear lamina and by doing so enables Xist to spread to actively transcribed genes across the X. Our results demonstrate that lamina recruitment changes the 3D structure of DNA, enabling Xist and its silencing proteins to spread across the X to silence transcription.

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