Although distinct human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) lines can display considerable epigenetic variation, it has been unclear whether such variability impacts their utility for disease modeling. Here, we show that although low-passage female hiPSCs retain the inactive X chromosome of the somatic cell they are derived from, over time in culture they undergo an "erosion" of X chromosome inactivation (XCI). This erosion of XCI is characterized by loss of XIST expression and foci of H3-K27-trimethylation, as well as transcriptional derepression of genes on the inactive X that cannot be reversed by either differentiation or further reprogramming. We specifically demonstrate that erosion of XCI has a significant impact on the use of female hiPSCs for modeling Lesch-Nyhan syndrome. However, our finding that most genes subject to XCI are derepressed by this erosion of XCI suggests that it should be a significant consideration when selecting hiPSC lines for modeling any disease.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Photo of Kevin Eggan

Kevin Eggan investigates the mechanisms that cause motor neuron degeneration in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and seeks to translate new discoveries into new therapeutic options for patients.

Photo of Alex Meissner

The Meissner laboratory uses genomic tools to study stem cell biology with a particular focus on epigenetic reprogramming.

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