Xist Repression Shows Time-Dependent Effects on the Reprogramming of Female Somatic Cells to Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells


  • Author contributions: Q.C.: conception and design, collection and/or assembly of the data, data analysis and interpretation, and manuscript writing; Shuai Gao, W.H., X.K., Y.Z., and H.W.: provision of study material and collection and/or assembly of the data; Shaorong Gao: conception and design, financial support, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript writing, and final approval of the manuscript.


Although the reactivation of silenced X chromosomes has been observed as part of the process of reprogramming female somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), it remains unknown whether repression of the X-inactive specific transcript (Xist) can greatly enhance female iPSC induction similar to that observed in somatic cell nuclear transfer studies. In this study, we discovered that the repression of Xist plays opposite roles in the early and late phases of female iPSCs induction. Our results demonstrate that the downregulation of Xist by an isopropyl β-d-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG)-inducible short hairpin RNA (shRNA) system can greatly impair the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) in the early phase of iPSC induction but can significantly promote the transition of pre-iPSCs to iPSCs in the late phase. Furthermore, we demonstrate that although the knockdown of Xist did not affect the H3K27me3 modification on the X chromosome, macroH2A was released from the inactivated X chromosome (Xi). This enables the X chromosome silencing to be a reversible event. Moreover, we demonstrate that the supplementation of vitamin C (Vc) can augment and stabilize the reversible X chromosome by preventing the relocalization of macroH2A to the Xi. Therefore, our study reveals an opposite role of Xist repression in the early and late stages of reprogramming female somatic cells to pluripotency and demonstrates that the release of macroH2A by Xist repression enables the transition from pre-iPSCs to iPSCs. Stem Cells 2014;32:2642–2656