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Histochem Cell Biol. 2004 Aug;122(2):83-93. Epub 2004 Aug 5.

The functional architecture of the nucleus as analysed by ultrastructural cytochemistry.

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Centre of Electron Microscopy, University of Lausanne, Rue du Bugnon 27, 1005, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Ultrastructural cytochemistry has been, for many years now, a major tool for investigating structure-function relationships in the cell nucleus. It has been essential in approaching the roles which different nuclear structural constituents can play in nuclear functions. This article briefly summarises transmission electron microscopic studies aimed at characterising in situ nuclear architectural domains and their involvement in main nuclear functions, such as DNA replication, hnRNA transcription and pre-mRNA processing. It discusses the importance of ultrastructural cytochemistry in high resolution analyses of intranuclear distribution of chromatin domains and their topological relationships with other structural interphase nuclear constituents. It puts forward the central role of the perichromatin region as a functional nuclear domain. Finally, it attempts to critically evaluate some future applications of ultrastructural investigations of the nucleus and stresses the importance of combining them with light microscopic analyses of living cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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