X-chromosome inactivation: closing in on proteins that bind Xist RNA

Trends Genet. 2002 Jul;18(7):352-8. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(02)02717-8.


X inactivation is the developmentally regulated silencing of a single X chromosome in XX female mammals. In recent years, the Xist gene has been revealed as the master regulatory switch controlling this process. Parental imprinting and/or counting mechanisms ensure that Xist is expressed only on the inactive X chromosome. Chromosome silencing then results from the accumulation of the Xist RNA silencing signal, in cis, over the entire length of the X chromosome. A key issue has been to identify the factors that interact with Xist RNA to initiate heritable gene silencing. This review discusses recent progress that has put this goal in sight.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Gene Silencing
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • X Chromosome*


  • EED protein, human
  • Histones
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • XIST non-coding RNA
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2