X chromosome inactivation (XCI) ensures an equal gene dosage between the sexes in placental mammals. Xist, a modular multi-domain X-encoded long non-coding RNA coats the X chromosome in cis during XCI. Xist recruits chromatin remodelers and repressor complexes ensuring silencing of the inactive X (Xi). Here, we review the recent work focused on the role of Xist functional repeats and interacting RNA-binding factors in the establishment of the silent state. Xist orchestrates recruitment of remodelers and repressors that first facilitate removal of the active chromatin landscape and subsequently direct the transition into a repressive heterochromatic environment. Some of these factors affect silencing on a chromosome-wide scale, while others display gene-specific silencing defects. The temporal order of recruitment shows each silencing step is party dependent on one another. After the Xi is established, many of the factors are dispensable, and a different repertoire of proteins ensure the silenced Xi is maintained and propagated.

Polycomb group proteins, Polycomb repressive complex, Repeat A, Spen, X chromosome inactivation, Xist
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ceb.2020.11.004, hdl.handle.net/1765/133089
Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Department of Developmental Biology

Boeren, J. (Jeffrey), & Gribnau, J.H. (2021). Xist-mediated chromatin changes that establish silencing of an entire X chromosome in mammals. Current Opinion in Cell Biology (Vol. 70, pp. 44–50). doi:10.1016/j.ceb.2020.11.004