Sex-biased chromatin and regulatory cross-talk between sex chromosomes, autosomes, and mitochondria
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CitationSilkaitis, Katherine, and Bernardo Lemos. 2014. “Sex-biased chromatin and regulatory cross-talk between sex chromosomes, autosomes, and mitochondria.” Biology of Sex Differences 5 (1): 2. doi:10.1186/2042-6410-5-2. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/2042-6410-5-2.
AbstractSeveral autoimmune and neurological diseases exhibit a sex bias, but discerning the causes and mechanisms of these biases has been challenging. Sex differences begin to manifest themselves in early embryonic development, and gonadal differentiation further bifurcates the male and female phenotypes. Even at this early stage, however, there is evidence that males and females respond to environmental stimuli differently, and the divergent phenotypic responses may have consequences later in life. The effect of prenatal nutrient restriction illustrates this point, as adult women exposed to prenatal restrictions exhibited increased risk factors of cardiovascular disease, while men exposed to the same condition did not. Recent research has examined the roles of sex-specific genes, hormones, chromosomes, and the interactions among them in mediating sex-biased phenotypes. Such research has identified testosterone, for example, as a possible protective agent against autoimmune disorders and an XX chromosome complement as a susceptibility factor in murine models of lupus and multiple sclerosis. Sex-biased chromatin is an additional and likely important component. Research suggesting a role for X and Y chromosome heterochromatin in regulating epigenetic states of autosomes has highlighted unorthodox mechanisms of gene regulation. The crosstalk between the Y chromosomes and autosomes may be further mediated by the mitochondria. The organelles have solely maternal transmission and exert differential effects on males and females. Altogether, research supports the notion that the interaction between sex-biased elements might exert novel regulatory functions in the genome and contribute to sex-specific susceptibilities to autoimmune and neurological diseases.
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