Mammalian females (XX) silence transcription on one of the two X chromosomes to compensate the expression dosage with males (XY). This process — named X-chromosome inactivation — entails a variety of epigenetic modifications that act synergistically to maintain silencing and make it heritable through cell divisions. Genes along the inactive X chromosome are, indeed, refractory to reactivation. Nonetheless, X-chromosome reactivation can occur alongside with epigenome reprogramming or by perturbing multiple silencing pathways. Here we review the events associated with X-chromosome reactivation during in vivo and in vitro reprogramming and highlight recent efforts in inducing Xi reactivation by molecular perturbations. This provides us with a first understanding of the mechanisms underlying X-chromosome reactivation, which could be tackled for therapeutic purposes.

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