Megadomains and superloops form dynamically but are dispensable for X-chromosome inactivation and gene escape

John E. Froberg, Stefan F. Pinter, Andrea J. Kriz, Teddy Jégu, Jeannie T. Lee

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Jul 26, 2018
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Received: 8th July 18

The mammalian inactive X-chromosome (Xi) is structurally distinct from all other chromosomes and serves as a model for how the 3D genome is organized. The Xi shows weakened topologically associated domains and is instead organized into megadomains and superloops directed by the noncoding loci, Dxz4 and Firre. Their functional significance is presently unclear, though one study suggests that they permit Xi genes to escape silencing. Here, we find that megadomains do not precede Xist expression or Xi gene silencing. Deleting Dxz4 disrupts megadomain formation, whereas deleting Firre weakens intra-megadomain interactions. Surprisingly, however, deleting Dxz4 and Firre has no impact on Xi silencing and gene escape. Nor does it affect Xi nuclear localization, stability, or H3K27 methylation. Additionally, ectopic integration of Dxz4 and Xist is not sufficient to form megadomains on autosomes, further uncoupling megadomain formation from chromosomal silencing. We conclude that Dxz4 and megadomains are dispensable for Xi silencing and escape from X-inactivation.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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