Genomic imprinting of Xist by maternal H3K27me3

Genes Dev. 2017 Oct 1;31(19):1927-1932. doi: 10.1101/gad.304113.117.


Maternal imprinting at the Xist gene is essential to achieve paternal allele-specific imprinted X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) in female mammals. However, the mechanism underlying Xist imprinting is unclear. Here we show that the Xist locus is coated with a broad H3K27me3 domain that is established during oocyte growth and persists through preimplantation development in mice. Loss of maternal H3K27me3 induces maternal Xist expression and maternal XCI in preimplantation embryos. Our study thus identifies maternal H3K27me3 as the imprinting mark of Xist.

Keywords: H3K27me3; X-chromosome inactivation; genomic imprinting; mouse early development.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastocyst
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • Genomic Imprinting / genetics*
  • Histone Methyltransferases
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / genetics
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Oocysts / physiology
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • X Chromosome Inactivation / genetics*


  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • XIST non-coding RNA
  • Histone Methyltransferases
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase