Female human iPSCs retain an inactive X chromosome

Cell Stem Cell. 2010 Sep 3;7(3):329-42. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2010.06.024. Epub 2010 Aug 19.


Generating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) requires massive epigenome reorganization. It is unclear whether reprogramming of female human cells reactivates the inactive X chromosome (Xi), as in mouse. Here we establish that human (h)iPSCs derived from several female fibroblasts under standard culture conditions carry an Xi. Despite the lack of reactivation, the Xi undergoes defined chromatin changes, and expansion of hiPSCs can lead to partial loss of XIST RNA. These results indicate that hiPSCs are epigenetically dynamic and do not display a pristine state of X inactivation with two active Xs as found in some female human embryonic stem cell lines. Furthermore, whereas fibroblasts are mosaic for the Xi, hiPSCs are clonal. This nonrandom pattern of X chromosome inactivation in female hiPSCs, which is maintained upon differentiation, has critical implications for clinical applications and disease modeling, and could be exploited for a unique form of gene therapy for X-linked diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cellular Reprogramming*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells*
  • X Chromosome Inactivation*