Chromosomes exhibit preferential positioning in nuclei of quiescent human cells

Robert G. Nagele, Theresa Freeman, Lydia McMorrow, Zabrina Thomson, Kelly Kitson-Wind, Hsin yi Lee

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92 Scopus citations


The relative spatial positioning of chromosomes 7, 8, 16, X and Y was examined in nuclei of quiescent (noncycling) diploid and triploid human fibroblasts using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with chromosome-specific DNA probes and digital imaging. In quiescent diploid cells, interhomolog distances and chromosome homolog position maps revealed a nonrandom, preferential topology for chromosomes 7, 8 and 16, whereas chromosome X approximated a more random distribution. Variations in the orientation of nuclei on the culture substratum tended to hinder detection of an ordered chromosome topology at interphase by biasing homolog position maps towards random distributions. Using two chromosome X homologs as reference points in triploid cells (karyotype = 69, XXY), the intranuclear location of chromosome Y was found to be predictable within remarkably narrow spatial limits. Dual-FISH with various combinations of chromosome-specific DNA probes and contrasting fluorochromes was used to identify adjacent chromosomes in mitotic rosettes and test whether they are similarly positioned in interphase nuclei. From among the combinations tested, chromosomes 8 and 11 were found to be closely apposed in most mitotic rosettes and interphase nuclei. Overall, results suggest the existence of an ordered interphase chromosome topology in quiescent human cells in which at least some chromosome homologs exhibit a preferred relative intranuclear location that may correspond to the observed spatial order of chromosomes in rosettes of mitotic cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-535
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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