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Mutat Res. 2007 Apr 1;617(1-2):33-45. Epub 2006 Dec 22.

Origin of nuclear buds and micronuclei in normal and folate-deprived human lymphocytes.

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New Technologies and Risks, Work Environment Development, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41aA, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland.


Micronuclei are formed from chromosomes and chromosomal fragments that lag behind in anaphase and are left outside daughter nuclei in telophase. They may also be derived from broken anaphase bridges. Nuclear buds, micronucleus-like bodies attached to the nucleus by a thin nucleoplasmic connection, have been proposed to be generated similarly to micronuclei during nuclear division or in S-phase as a stage in the extrusion of extra DNA, possibly giving rise to micronuclei. To better understand these phenomena, we have characterized the contents of 894 nuclear buds and 1392 micronuclei in normal and folate-deprived 9-day cultures of human lymphocytes using fluorescence in situ hybridization with pancentromeric and pantelomeric DNA probes. Such information has not earlier been available for human primary cells. Surprisingly, there appears to be no previous data on the occurrence of telomeres in micronuclei (or buds) of normal human cells in general. Our results suggest that nuclear buds and micronuclei have partly different mechanistic origin. Interstitial DNA without centromere or telomere label was clearly more prevalent in nuclear buds (43%) than in micronuclei (13%). DNA with only telomere label or with both centromere and telomere label was more frequent in micronuclei (62% and 22%, respectively) than in nuclear buds (44% and 10%, respectively). Folate deprivation especially increased the frequency of nuclear buds and micronuclei harboring telomeric DNA and nuclear buds harboring interstitial DNA but also buds and micronuclei with both centromeric and telomeric DNA. According to the model we propose, that micronuclei in binucleate lymphocytes primarily derive from lagging chromosomes and terminal acentric fragments during mitosis. Most nuclear buds, however, are suggested to originate from interstitial or terminal acentric fragments, possibly representing nuclear membrane entrapment of DNA that has been left in cytoplasm after nuclear division or excess DNA that is being extruded from the nucleus.

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