Reactivation of Х chromosome upon reprogramming leads to changes in the replication pattern and 5hmC accumulation

Chromosoma. 2014 Mar;123(1-2):117-28. doi: 10.1007/s00412-013-0433-x. Epub 2013 Aug 28.


Once set, the inactive status of the X chromosome in female somatic cells is preserved throughout subsequent cell divisions. The inactive status of the X chromosome is characterized by many features, including late replication. In contrast to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in mice, the X chromosome in human female iPSCs usually remains inactive after reprogramming of somatic cells to the pluripotent state, although recent studies point to the possibility of reactivation of the X chromosome. Here, we demonstrated that, during reprogramming, the inactive X chromosome switches from late to synchronous replication, with restoration of the transcription of previously silenced genes. This process is accompanied by accumulation of a new epigenetic mark or intermediate of the DNA demethylation pathway, 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), on the activated X chromosome. Our results indicate that the active status of the X chromosome is better confirmed by early replication and the reappearance of 5hmC, rather than by appearance of histone marks of active chromatin, removal of histone marks of inactive chromatin, or an absence of XIST coating.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methylcytosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cellular Reprogramming*
  • Chromosomes, Human, X / genetics*
  • Cytosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cytosine / metabolism
  • DNA Replication Timing
  • DNA Replication*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mice
  • X Chromosome Inactivation


  • 5-hydroxymethylcytosine
  • 5-Methylcytosine
  • Cytosine