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Imprinted inactivation

The eed (embryonic ectoderm development) gene is a member of the mouse Polycomb group (Pc-G) and is required for early gastrulation. In the Advance Online issue of Nature Genetics, Jianbo Wang and colleagues from the University of North Carolina define a role for eed in X chromosome inactivation. They analysed trophoblast giant cells in eed-null embryonic deciduas and found developmental defects in eed-null females but not in male embryos. To investigate the role of paternal X inactivation, Wang et al. crossed the eed-mutant mice with mice carrying a paternally inherited X-linked green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgene. The presence of fluorescent extra-embryonic cells in eed-null females suggests that eed is essential for maintaining paternal X-inactivation. The authors propose a model in which interaction between the Eed protein and histone deacetylases maintains gene silencing on the imprinted X chromosome in mouse extra-embryonic tissues.


  1. The Polycomb-group gene eed is required for normal morphogenetic movements during gastrulation in the mouse embryo.

  2. Nature Genetics , []

  3. University of North Carolina , []

  4. Non-invasive sexing of preimplantation stage mammalian embryos

  5. Transcriptional repression mediated by the human polycomb-group protein EED involves histone deacetylation.

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Weitzman, J.B. Imprinted inactivation. Genome Biol 2, spotlight-20010730-01 (2001).

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