Chromatin remodeling in dosage compensation

Annu Rev Genet. 2005;39:615-51. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.39.073003.094210.


In many multicellular organisms, males have one X chromosome and females have two. Dosage compensation refers to a regulatory mechanism that insures the equalization of X-linked gene products in males and females. The mechanism has been studied at the molecular level in model organisms belonging to three distantly related taxa; in these organisms, equalization is achieved by shutting down one of the two X chromosomes in the somatic cells of females, by decreasing the level of transcription of the two doses of X-linked genes in females relative to males, or by increasing the level of transcription of the single dose of X-linked genes in males. The study of dosage compensation in these different forms has revealed the existence of an amazing number of interacting chromatin remodeling mechanisms that affect the function of entire chromosomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / genetics*
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic / genetics*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Mammals / genetics
  • X Chromosome / genetics