The A-repeat links ASF/SF2-dependent Xist RNA processing with random choice during X inactivation.
ABSTRACT: One X chromosome, selected at random, is silenced in each female mammalian cell. Xist encodes a noncoding RNA that influences the probability that the cis-linked X chromosome will be silenced. We found that the A-repeat, a highly conserved element within Xist, is required for the accumulation of spliced Xist RNA. In addition, the A-repeat is necessary for X-inactivation to occur randomly. In combination, our data suggest that normal Xist RNA processing is important in the regulation of random X-inactivation. We propose that modulation of Xist RNA processing may be part of the stochastic process that determines which X chromosome will be inactivated.
Project description:Long non-coding RNA Xist plays a crucial role in establishing and maintaining X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) which is a paradigm of long non-coding RNA-mediated gene regulation. Xist has Xist-specific repeat elements A-F which are conserved among eutherian mammals, underscoring their functional importance. Here we report that Xist RNA repeat E, a conserved Xist repeat element in the Xist exon 7, interacts with ASH2L and contributes to maintenance of escape gene expression level on the inactive X-chromosome (Xi) during XCI. The Xist repeat E-deletion mutant female ES cells show the depletion of ASH2L from the Xi upon differentiation. Furthermore, a subset of escape genes exhibits unexpectedly higher expression in the repeat E mutant cells than the cells expressing wildtype Xist during X-inactivation, whereas the silencing of X-linked non-escape genes is not affected. We discuss the implications of these results to understand the role of ASH2L and Xist repeat E for histone modifications and escape gene regulation during random X-chromosome inactivation.
Project description:In female (XX) mammals, one of the two X chromosomes is inactivated to ensure an equal dose of X-linked genes with males (XY). X-chromosome inactivation in eutherian mammals is mediated by the non-coding RNA Xist. Xist is not found in metatherians (marsupials), and how X-chromosome inactivation is initiated in these mammals has been the subject of speculation for decades. Using the marsupial Monodelphis domestica, here we identify Rsx (RNA-on-the-silent X), an RNA that has properties consistent with a role in X-chromosome inactivation. Rsx is a large, repeat-rich RNA that is expressed only in females and is transcribed from, and coats, the inactive X chromosome. In female germ cells, in which both X chromosomes are active, Rsx is silenced, linking Rsx expression to X-chromosome inactivation and reactivation. Integration of an Rsx transgene on an autosome in mouse embryonic stem cells leads to gene silencing in cis. Our findings permit comparative studies of X-chromosome inactivation in mammals and pose questions about the mechanisms by which X-chromosome inactivation is achieved in eutherians.
Project description:The Xist lncRNA requires Repeat A, a conserved RNA element located in its 5' end, to induce gene silencing during X-chromosome inactivation. Intriguingly, Repeat A is also required for production of Xist. While silencing by Repeat A requires the protein SPEN, how Repeat A promotes Xist production remains unclear. We report that in mouse embryonic stem cells, expression of a transgene comprising the first two kilobases of Xist (Xist-2kb) causes transcriptional readthrough of downstream polyadenylation sequences. Readthrough required Repeat A and the ?750 nucleotides downstream, did not require SPEN, and was attenuated by splicing. Despite associating with SPEN and chromatin, Xist-2kb did not robustly silence transcription, whereas a 5.5-kb Xist transgene robustly silenced transcription and read through its polyadenylation sequence. Longer, spliced Xist transgenes also induced robust silencing yet terminated efficiently. Thus, in contexts examined here, Xist requires sequence elements beyond its first two kilobases to robustly silence transcription, and the 5' end of Xist harbors SPEN-independent transcriptional antiterminator activity that can repress proximal cleavage and polyadenylation. In endogenous contexts, this antiterminator activity may help produce full-length Xist RNA while rendering the Xist locus resistant to silencing by the same repressive complexes that the lncRNA recruits to other genes.
Project description:X chromosome inactivation in mammals requires the Xist gene, which is exclusively expressed from the inactive X chromosome (Xi). The large heterogeneous Xist nuclear RNA colocalizes with Xi, most likely through nuclear protein interactions. The 5' region of the Xist RNA contains a series of well-conserved tandem repeats known to bind heteronuclear proteins in vitro and to enhance human XIST transcription. We show in an in vitro system that the conserved repeat element located in the 5' region of the mouse Xist gene (Xcr) represses three X-linked genes but has no effect on the autosomal genes Aprt, Ins, and the viral SV40 gene. The repression effect is not mediated by the conserved core sequence (Ccs) of Xcr, but requires the presence of the complete Xcr. This Xcr effect on X-linked genes suggests that Xcr transcript recognizes the genes to be silenced and is involved in the spreading of X inactivation.
Project description:To initiate X-Chromosome inactivation (XCI), the long noncoding RNA <i>Xist</i> mediates chromosome-wide gene silencing of one X Chromosome in female mammals to equalize gene dosage between the sexes. The efficiency of gene silencing is highly variable across genes, with some genes even escaping XCI in somatic cells. A gene's susceptibility to <i>Xist</i>-mediated silencing appears to be determined by a complex interplay of epigenetic and genomic features; however, the underlying rules remain poorly understood. We have quantified chromosome-wide gene silencing kinetics at the level of the nascent transcriptome using allele-specific Precision nuclear Run-On sequencing (PRO-seq). We have developed a Random Forest machine-learning model that can predict the measured silencing dynamics based on a large set of epigenetic and genomic features and tested its predictive power experimentally. The genomic distance to the <i>Xist</i> locus, followed by gene density and distance to LINE elements, are the prime determinants of the speed of gene silencing. Moreover, we find two distinct gene classes associated with different silencing pathways: a class that requires <i>Xist</i>-repeat A for silencing, which is known to activate the SPEN pathway, and a second class in which genes are premarked by Polycomb complexes and tend to rely on the B repeat in <i>Xist</i> for silencing, known to recruit Polycomb complexes during XCI. Moreover, a series of features associated with active transcriptional elongation and chromatin 3D structure are enriched at rapidly silenced genes. Our machine-learning approach can thus uncover the complex combinatorial rules underlying gene silencing during X inactivation.
Project description:In somatic cells of female placental mammals, one of the two X chromosomes is transcriptionally silenced to accomplish an equal dose of X-encoded gene products in males and females. Initiation of random X chromosome inactivation (XCI) is thought to be regulated by X-encoded activators and autosomally encoded suppressors controlling Xist. Spreading of Xist RNA leads to silencing of the X chromosome in cis. Here, we demonstrate that the dose dependent X-encoded XCI activator RNF12/RLIM acts in trans and activates Xist. We did not find evidence for RNF12-mediated regulation of XCI through Tsix or the Xist intron 1 region, which are both known to be involved in inhibition of Xist. In addition, we found that Xist intron 1, which contains a pluripotency factor binding site, is not required for suppression of Xist in undifferentiated ES cells. Analysis of female Rnf12?/? knockout ES cells showed that RNF12 is essential for initiation of XCI and is mainly involved in the regulation of Xist. We conclude that RNF12 is an indispensable factor in up-regulation of Xist transcription, thereby leading to initiation of random XCI.
Project description:In female mammals, one of the two X chromosomes is transcriptionally silenced to equalize X-linked gene dosage relative to XY males, a process termed X chromosome inactivation. Mechanistically, this is thought to occur via directed recruitment of chromatin modifying factors by the master regulator, X-inactive specific transcript (Xist) RNA, which localizes in cis along the entire length of the chromosome. A well-studied example is the recruitment of polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), for which there is evidence of a direct interaction involving the PRC2 proteins Enhancer of zeste 2 (Ezh2) and Supressor of zeste 12 (Suz12) and the A-repeat region located at the 5' end of Xist RNA. In this study, we have analyzed Xist-mediated recruitment of PRC2 using two approaches, microarray-based epigenomic mapping and superresolution 3D structured illumination microscopy. Making use of an ES cell line carrying an inducible Xist transgene located on mouse chromosome 17, we show that 24 h after synchronous induction of Xist expression, acquired PRC2 binding sites map predominantly to gene-rich regions, notably within gene bodies. Paradoxically, these new sites of PRC2 deposition do not correlate with Xist-mediated gene silencing. The 3D structured illumination microscopy was performed to assess the relative localization of PRC2 proteins and Xist RNA. Unexpectedly, we observed significant spatial separation and absence of colocalization both in the inducible Xist transgene ES cell line and in normal XX somatic cells. Our observations argue against direct interaction between Xist RNA and PRC2 proteins and, as such, prompt a reappraisal of the mechanism for PRC2 recruitment in X chromosome inactivation.
Project description:Xist is indispensable for X chromosome inactivation. However, how Xist RNA directs chromosome-wide silencing and why some regions are more efficiently silenced than others remains unknown. Here, we explore the function of Xist by inducing ectopic Xist expression from multiple different X-linked and autosomal loci in mouse aneuploid and female diploid embryonic stem cells in which Xist-mediated silencing does not lead to lethal functional monosomy. We show that ectopic Xist expression faithfully recapitulates endogenous X chromosome inactivation from any location on the X chromosome, whereas long-range silencing of autosomal genes is less efficient. Long interspersed elements facilitate inactivation of genes located far away from the Xist transcription locus, and genes escaping X chromosome inactivation show enrichment of CTCF on X chromosomal but not autosomal loci. Our findings highlight important genomic and epigenetic features acquired during sex chromosome evolution to facilitate an efficient X chromosome inactivation process.Xist RNA is required for X chromosome inactivation but it is not well understood how Xist silences some regions more efficiently than others. Here, the authors induce ectopic Xist expression from multiple different X-linked and autosomal loci in cells to explore Xist function.
Project description:XIST is a long non-coding RNA, which expressed exclusively from the inactive X chromosome. Although it has been revealed that the A-repeat contributes to the X chromosome inactivation (X-inactivation), the role of the longest D-repeat has not yet been investigated. Here, a sgRNA directed CRISPR/Cas9 system which have multiple target sites within repeat D of XIST, were used to generate D-repeat deletion and studied its roles on X-inactivation. The results showed that the deletion of D-repeat caused a significantly decreased expression of XIST, and up regulated expression of X-linked genes, suggesting that the D-repeat may play an important role in the regulation of XIST expression and silencing of the X-linked genes, which could provide a new idea in the molecular mechanisms of X-inactivation.
Project description:To ensure dosage compensation between the sexes, one randomly chosen X chromosome is silenced in each female cell in the process of X-chromosome inactivation (XCI). XCI is initiated during early development through upregulation of the long non-coding RNA Xist, which mediates chromosome-wide gene silencing. Cell differentiation, Xist upregulation and gene silencing are thought to be coupled at multiple levels to ensure inactivation of exactly one out of two X chromosomes. Here we perform an integrated analysis of all three processes through allele-specific single-cell RNA-sequencing. Specifically, we assess the onset of random XCI in differentiating mouse embryonic stem cells, and develop dedicated analysis approaches. By exploiting the inter-cellular heterogeneity of XCI onset, we identify putative Xist regulators. Moreover, we show that transient Xist upregulation from both X chromosomes results in biallelic gene silencing right before transitioning to the monoallelic state, confirming a prediction of the stochastic model of XCI. Finally, we show that genetic variation modulates the XCI process at multiple levels, providing a potential explanation for the long-known X-controlling element (Xce) effect, which leads to preferential inactivation of a specific X chromosome in inter-strain crosses. We thus draw a detailed picture of the different levels of regulation that govern the initiation of XCI. The experimental and computational strategies we have developed here will allow us to profile random XCI in more physiological contexts, including primary human cells in vivo.