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Curr Biol. 2002 Oct 1;12(19):1692-7.

Conservation of relative chromosome positioning in normal and cancer cells.

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National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Chromosomes exist in the interphase nucleus as individual chromosome territories. It is unclear to what extent chromosome territories occupy particular positions with respect to each other and how structural rearrangements, such as translocations, affect chromosome organization within the cell nucleus. Here we analyze the relative interphase positioning of chromosomes in mouse lymphoma cells compared to normal splenocytes. We show that in a lymphoma cell line derived from an ATM(-/-) mouse, two translocated chromosomes are preferentially positioned in close proximity to each other. The relative position of the chromosomes involved in these translocations is conserved in normal splenocytes. Relative positioning of chromosomes in normal splenocytes is not due to their random distribution in the interphase nucleus and persists during mitosis. These observations demonstrate that the relative arrangement of chromosomes in the interphase nucleus can be conserved between normal and cancer cells and our data support the notion that physical proximity facilitates rearrangements between chromosomes.

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