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Chromosoma. 1999 Sep;108(5):271-7.

Variable stability of chromosomes containing amplified alpha-satellite sequences in human mesenchymal tumours.

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Department of Clinical Genetics, University Hospital, S-221 85 Lund, Sweden.


Alpha-satellite sequences are found in the centromeric region of all human chromosomes and have been implicated in centromeric function. We describe the structure and behaviour of chromosomes containing amplified human alphoid DNA from chromosome 12, in an osteosarcoma cell line (OSA) and an atypical lipomatous tumour (ALT). In OSA, the amplified material was detected in one large marker chromosome, whereas in ALT amplified sequences were observed in chromosomes of variable number and appearance. The marker in OSA was mitotically stable, but those in ALT exhibited a high degree of mitotic instability, forming bridges at anaphase and chromatin strings between interphase nuclei. The amplified alpha-satellite arrays reacted positively with human anti-centromeric antiserum and anti-centromere protein B antibodies in both tumours. Centromere protein C, previously shown to be present only in functional kinetochores, was invariably detected at the constriction of the marker in OSA, while one-fifth of markers in ALT appeared to exhibit additional centromere protein C-positive regions outside the primary constriction, indicating that the observed chromosomal instability in ALT might, at least in part, be a consequence of the occasional formation of more than one functional kinetochore. In OSA the alphoid DNA was coamplified with unique sequences from central 12q and the amplified material was C-band negative but in ALT amplified material from central 12q as well as sequences from proximal 12p were detected, resulting in C-band-positive areas. A propensity for additional kinetochore formation might thus be associated with the coamplification of alphoid DNA and pericentromeric sequences from chromosome 12.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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