Expression of XIST sense and antisense in bovine fetal organs and cell cultures
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Untranslated RNAs transcribed from sense and antisense strands of a gene referred to as X-inactive specific transcript (XIST) play crucial roles in the genetic inactivation and condensation of one of the two X chromosomes in the somatic cells of female mammals. X inactivation is also thought to occur in mammalian male germ cells mainly based on the formation of a condensed structure referred to as a sex body or XY-body, during spermatogenesis. Molecular identity of the sex body, the roles of sense and antisense XIST RNAs in its formation, and the relevance of the sex body to spermatogenesis are not known. Here we report the results of our strand-specific RT-PCR approach to identify the amplicon detected in fetal bovine testes previously referred to as XIST and to test for sense/antisense expression in male and female organs and cell cultures of different sex chromosome constitution. Our results showed that the transcript detected consistently in male gonads and variably in somatic organs represents XIST antisense RNA and that XIST sense and antisense RNAs are co-expressed in female somatic tissues and cultured cells including cells of sex chromosome aneuploids (XXY and XXX). Our results, which differ from those of other investigators in this area, are discussed in the light of the recently reported differences in the expression pattern of murine Xist/Tsix loci and their structural and functional differences in different mammalian species.
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