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Methods. 2007 Feb;41(2):158-67.

Measuring structural dynamics of chromosomes in living cells by fluorescence microscopy.

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Gene Expression Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.


Mitotic and meiotic chromosomes are the compact packages that faithfully transport the genetic and epigenetic information to the following cell generations. How chromatin dynamically cycles between the decompacted interphase state that supports transcription and replication and the compacted state required for chromosome segregation is not understood. To address this long-standing problem, the structure of chromatin should ideally be studied in the physiological context of intact cells and organisms. We discuss here, the contributions that live-cell imaging can and has made to the study of mitotic chromosome compaction and highlight the power and limitations of this approach. We review methodologies used and suggest that combinatorial approaches and developing new imaging technologies will be key to shedding light on this long-standing question in cell biology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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