Mechanistic insights into chromosome-wide silencing in X inactivation

Susanne Arthold, Agata Kurowski, Anton Wutz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In mammals, one of the two X chromosomes in female cells is transcriptionally silenced for dosage compensation between the sexes. Chromosome-wide silencing is initiated by the non-coding Xist RNA that accumulates within the inactive X chromosome territory and triggers gene repression and chromatin modifications. Epigenetic changes of the inactive X chromosome in a developmentally regulated manner result in stable gene repression in female somatic cells. X inactivation is a model for understanding the formation of facultative heterochromatin in mammalian development and represents a paradigm for RNA mediated regulation of gene expression. In this review, we summarize the present knowledge of the mechanism of chromosome-wide silencing and give an outlook on future directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-305
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


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