Gene body-specific methylation on the active X chromosome

Asaf Hellman*, Andrew Chess

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

561 Scopus citations


Differential DNA methylation is important for the epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Allele-specific methylation of the inactive X chromosome has been demonstrated at promoter CpG islands, but the overall pattern of methylation on the active X (Xa) and inactive X (Xi) chromosomes is unknown. We performed allele-specific analysis of more than 1000 informative loci along the human X chromosome. The Xa displays more than two times as much allele-specific methylation as Xi. This methylation is concentrated at gene bodies, affecting multiple neighboring CpGs. Before X inactivation, all of these Xa gene body-methylated sites are biallelically methylated. Thus, a bipartite methylation-demethylation program results in Xa-specific hypomethylation at gene promoters and hypermethylation at gene bodies. These results suggest a relationship between global methylation and expression potentiality.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1141-1143
Number of pages3
Issue number5815
StatePublished - 23 Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


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