Engineered chromosome regions with altered sequence composition demonstrate hierarchical large-scale folding within metaphase chromosomes

Yuri G. Strukov, Yan Wang, Andrew S. Belmont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Mitotic chromosome structure and DNA sequence requirements for normal chromosomal condensation remain unknown. We engineered labeled chromosome regions with altered scaffold-associated region (SAR) sequence composition as a formal test of the radial loop and other chromosome models. Chinese hamster ovary cells were isolated containing high density insertions of a transgene containing lac operator repeats and a dihydrofolate reductase gene, with or without flanking SAR sequences. Lac repressor staining provided high resolution labeling with good preservation of chromosome ultrastructure. No evidence emerged for differential targeting of SAR sequences to a chromosome axis within native chromosomes. SAR sequences distributed uniformly throughout the native chromosome cross section and chromosome regions containing a high density of SAR transgene insertions showed normal diameter and folding. Ultrastructural analysis of two different transgene insertion sites, both spanning less than the full chromatin width, clearly contradicted predictions of simple radial loop models while providing strong support for hierarchical models of chromosome architecture. Specifically, an ∼250-nm-diam folding subunit was visualized directly within fully condensed metaphase chromosomes. Our results contradict predictions of simple radial loop models and provide the first unambiguous demonstration of a hierarchical folding subunit above the level of the 30-nm fiber within normally condensed metaphase chromosomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-35
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Volume162
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 7 2003

Keywords

  • Chromosome scaffold
  • Large-scale structure of chromatin
  • Mitotic chromosome
  • Scaffold-associated regions
  • Transgenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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