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Mol Cell. 1999 Feb;3(2):207-17.

Dynamic repositioning of genes in the nucleus of lymphocytes preparing for cell division.

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Lymphocyte Development Group, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


We show that several transcriptionally inactive genes localize to centromeric heterochromatin in the nucleus of cycling but not quiescent (noncycling) primary B lymphocytes. In quiescent cells, centromeric repositioning of inactive loci was induced after mitogenic stimulation. A dynamic repositioning of selected genes was also observed in developing T cells. Rag and TdT loci were shown to relocate to centromeric domains following heritable gene silencing in primary CD4+8+ thymocytes, but not in a phenotypically similar cell line in which silencing occurred but was not heritable. Collectively, these data indicate that the spatial organization of genes in cycling and noncycling lymphocytes is different and that locus repositioning may be a feature of heritable gene silencing.

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