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Architecture chromosomique du locus Xic : implications pour la régulation de l'inactivation du chromosome X

Abstract : Early development of female mammals is accompanied by transcriptional inactivation of one of their two X chromosomes. This event is initiated following mono-allelic expression of the Xist non-coding RNA – what is achieved by the interplay of numerous cis-regulatory elements present within the X inactivation center (Xic), such as its repressive antisense Tsix. Our work aimed at throwing light on the structural landscape that underlies such long-range regulation. Characterization of the three-dimensional architecture of the Xic, by the means of Chromosome Conformation Capture (3C)-based techniques and in situ fluorescence hybridization (FISH), revealed that the respective promoters of Xist and Tsix contact many distal genomic elements within the Xic, and that at least one of such interacting region exerts long-range cis-transcriptional control. Noticeably, Xist and Tsix promoters associate with different sets of elements in their respective 5’ direction that are spread out over several hundreds of kilobases These experiments also revealed unforeseen properties of chromatin architecture. Indeed, the Xic appears to be partitioned in several sub-regions, each spanning between 200kb and 1Mb, inside which chromosomal interactions are preferentially established. The existence of these interaction domains integrates with other structural features of the genome, such as underlying chromatin composition and association with the nuclear lamina, but does not seem to directly depend on them. By analyzing chromosome conformation of the Xic during cell differentiation we document the robustness of this organizational principle, with the noticeable exception of the inactive X chromosome that assumes a folding pattern that is more random than its active homolog. Finally we also bring evidence that variability in the folding pattern of the two X chromosomes in the same cell brings each Tsix allele in association with different sets of chromosomal partners at a given moment, suggesting that the instantaneous structural environment of each allele at the onset of mono-allelic Xist up-regulation is different.By combining approaches at the scale of cell populations on the one hand, and at the single chromatin fiber level on the other, this study provides a first vision of the structural landscape in which Xist regulation takes place, and brings new insights concerning fundamental properties of chromosome organization in mammals.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 3:01:05 PM
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Elphège-Pierre Nora. Architecture chromosomique du locus Xic : implications pour la régulation de l'inactivation du chromosome X. Génétique. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2011. Français. ⟨NNT : 2011PA112130⟩. ⟨tel-00635540⟩

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