Xlsirts are a family of interspersed repeat RNAs from Xenopus laevis that contain from 3 to 13 repeat units (each 79 to 81 nucleotides long) flanked by unique sequences. They are homologous to the mammalian Xist gene that is involved in X chromosome inactivation. Xlsirt RNA appears first in the mitochondrial cloud (Balbiani body) in stage 2 oocytes and is then translocated as island-like structures to the vegetal cortex at early stage 3 coincident with the localization of the germ plasm. Exogenous Xlsirt RNA injected into oocytes translocates to the location of the endogenous RNA at that particular stage. The Xlsirt RNA repeat sequences are required for translocation and can cause the translocation of heterologous unique RNAs to the vegetal cortex.
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