Lineage-specific function of the noncoding Tsix RNA for Xist repression and Xi reactivation in mice.
The noncoding Tsix RNA is an antisense repressor of Xist and regulates X inactivation in mice. Tsix is essential for preventing the inactivation of the maternally inherited X chromosome in extraembryonic lineages where imprinted X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) occurs. Here we establish an inducible Tsix expression system for investigating Tsix function in development. We show that Tsix has a clear functional window in extraembryonic development. Within this window, Tsix can repress Xist, which is accompanied by DNA methylation of the Xist promoter. As a consequence of Xist repression, reactivation of the inactive X chromosome (Xi) is widely observed. In the parietal endoderm, Tsix represses Xist and causes reactivation of an Xi-linked GFP transgene throughout development, whereas Tsix progressively loses its Xist-repressing function from embryonic day 9.5 (E9.5) onward in trophoblast giant cells and spongiotrophoblast, suggesting that Tsix function depends on a lineage-specific environment. Our data also demonstrate that the maintenance of imprinted XCI requires Xist expression in specific extraembryonic tissues throughout development. This finding shows that reversible XCI is not exclusive to pluripotent cells, and that in some lineages cell differentiation is not accompanied by a stabilization of the Xi.