X chromosome activity in mouse XX primordial germ cells

Susana M. Chuva De Sousa Lopes, Katsuhiko Hayashi, Tanya C. Shovlin, Will Mifsud, M. Azim Surani, Anne McLaren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Citations (Scopus)


In the early epiblast of female mice, one of the two X chromosomes is randomly inactivated by a Xist-dependent mechanism, involving the recruitment of Ezh2-Eed and the subsequent trimethylation of histone 3 on lysine 27 (H3K27me3). We demonstrate that this random inactivation process applies also to the primordial germ cell (PGC) precursors, located in the proximal region of the epiblast. PGC specification occurs at about embryonic day (E)7.5, in the extraembryonic mesoderm, after which the germ cells enter the endoderm of the invaginating hindgut. As they migrate towards the site of the future gonads, the XX PGCs gradually lose the H3K27me3 accumulation on the silent X chromosome. However, using a GFP transgene inserted into the X chromosome, we observed that the XX gonadal environment (independently of the gender) is important for the substantial reactivation of the inactive X chromosome between E11.5 and E13.5, but is not required for X-chromosome reactivation during the derivation of pluripotent embryonic germ cells. We describe in detail one of the key events during female PGC development, the epigenetic reprogramming of the X chromosome, and demonstrate the role of the XX somatic genital ridge in this process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'X chromosome activity in mouse XX primordial germ cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this