cis-Regulatory communication is crucial in mammalian development and is thought to be restricted by the spatial partitioning of the genome in topologically associating domains (TADs). Here, we discovered that the Xist locus is regulated by sequences in the neighboring TAD. In particular, the promoter of the noncoding RNA Linx (LinxP) acts as a long-range silencer and influences the choice of X chromosome to be inactivated. This is independent of Linx transcription and independent of any effect on Tsix, the antisense regulator of Xist that shares the same TAD as Linx. Unlike Tsix, LinxP is well conserved across mammals, suggesting an ancestral mechanism for random monoallelic Xist regulation. When introduced in the same TAD as Xist, LinxP switches from a silencer to an enhancer. Our study uncovers an unsuspected regulatory axis for X chromosome inactivation and a class of cis-regulatory effects that may exploit TAD partitioning to modulate developmental decisions.Galupa et al. uncover elements important for Xist regulation in its neighboring TAD and reveal that these elements can influence gene regulation both within and between topological domains. These findings, in a context where dynamic, developmental expression is necessary, challenge current models for TAD-based gene-regulatory landscapes.

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Keywords 5C, cis-regulatory landscape, enhancer, gene regulation, Linx, noncoding RNA, silencer, TADs, X-inactivation, Xist
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Journal Molecular Cell
Galupa, R. (Rafael), Nora, E.P, Worsley-Hunt, R. (Rebecca), Picard, C. (Christel), Gard, C. (Chris), Van Bemmel, J.G, … Heard, E. (2020). A Conserved Noncoding Locus Regulates Random Monoallelic Xist Expression across a Topological Boundary. Molecular Cell, 77(2), 352–367.e8. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2019.10.030