Cerase, Andrea et al.
Female mammals achieve dosage compensation by inactivating one of their two X chromosomes during development, a process entirely dependent on Xist, an X-linked long non-coding RNA (lncRNA). At the onset of X chromosome inactivation (XCI), Xist is up-regulated and spreads along the future inactive X chromosome. Contextually, it recruits repressive histone and DNA modifiers that transcriptionally silence the X chromosome. Xist regulation is tightly coupled to differentiation and its expression is under the control of both pluripotency and epigenetic factors. Recent evidence has suggested that chromatin remodelers accumulate at the X Inactivation Center (XIC) and here we demonstrate a new role for Chd8 in Xist regulation in differentiating ES cells, linked to its control and prevention of spurious transcription factor interactions occurring within Xist regulatory regions. Our findings have a broader relevance, in the context of complex, developmentally-regulated gene expression.