LINE-1 activity in facultative heterochromatin formation during X chromosome inactivation

Jennifer C. Chow, Constance Ciaudo, Melissa J. Fazzari, Nathan Mise, Nicolas Servant, Jacob L. Glass, Matthew Attreed, Philip Avner, Anton Wutz, Emmanuel Barillot, John M. Greally, Olivier Voinnet, Edith Heard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

235 Scopus citations


During X chromosome inactivation (XCI), Xist RNA coats and silences one of the two X chromosomes in female cells. Little is known about how XCI spreads across the chromosome, although LINE-1 elements have been proposed to play a role. Here we show that LINEs participate in creating a silent nuclear compartment into which genes become recruited. A subset of young LINE-1 elements, however, is expressed during XCI, rather than being silenced. We demonstrate that such LINE expression requires the specific heterochromatic state induced by Xist. These LINEs often lie within escape-prone regions of the X chromosome, but close to genes that are subject to XCI, and are associated with putative endo-siRNAs. LINEs may thus facilitate XCI at different levels, with silent LINEs participating in assembly of a heterochromatic nuclear compartment induced by Xist, and active LINEs participating in local propagation of XCI into regions that would otherwise be prone to escape. PaperClip:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)956-969
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • DNA
  • Devbio
  • RNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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