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Curr Biol. 2006 Apr 18;16(8):825-31.

Long-range directional movement of an interphase chromosome site.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 61801, USA.


Increasing evidence suggests functional compartmentalization of interphase nuclei. This includes preferential interior localization of gene-rich and early replicating chromosome regions versus peripheral localization of gene-poor and late replicating chromosome regions , association of some active genes with nuclear speckles or transcription "factories", and association of transcriptionally repressed genes with heterochromatic regions. Dynamic changes in chromosome compartmentalization imply mechanisms for long-range interphase chromatin movements. However, live cell imaging in mammalian cells has revealed limited chromatin mobility, described as "constrained diffusion". None of these studies, though, have examined a chromosome locus undergoing an inducible repositioning between two different nuclear compartments. Here we demonstrate migration of an interphase chromosome site from the nuclear periphery to the interior 1-2 hr after targeting a transcriptional activator to this site. Spot redistribution is perturbed by specific actin or nuclear myosin I mutants. Extended periods of chromosome immobility are interspersed with several minute periods in which chromosomes move unidirectionally along curvilinear paths oriented roughly perpendicular to the nuclear envelope at velocities of 0.1-0.9 microm/min over distances of 1-5 microm. Our results suggest an active mechanism for fast and directed long-range interphase chromosome movements dependent directly or indirectly on actin/myosin.

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