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XIST (gene)

Xist (X-inactive specific transcript) is an RNA gene on the X chromosome of the placental mammals that acts as a major effector of the X inactivation process. It is a component of the Xic - X-chromosome inactivation centre - along with two other RNA genes ( Jpx and Ftx) and two protein genes (Tsx and Cnbp2). The Xist RNA, a large (17 kb in humans) transcript, is expressed on the inactive chromosome and not on the active one. It is processed in a similar way to mRNAs, through splicing and polyadenylation. However, it remains untranslated. It has been suggested that this RNA gene evolved at least partly from a protein coding gene that became a pseudogene. The inactive X chromosome is coated with this transcript, which is essential for the inactivation. X chromosomes lacking Xist will not be inactivated, while duplication of the Xist gene on another chromosome causes inactivation of that chromosome.