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Chromosome Res. 2008;16(3):397-412. doi: 10.1007/s10577-008-1237-3.

Elucidating chromatin and nuclear domain architecture with electron spectroscopic imaging.

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Program in Genetics and Genome Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Research Institute, 101 College Street, East Tower, 15th Floor, 15-401T, Toronto, ON M5G 1L7, Canada.


Electron microscopy has been the 'gold standard' of spatial resolution for studying the structure of the cell nucleus. Electron spectroscopic imaging (ESI) offers advantages over conventional transmission electron microscopy by eliminating the need for heavy-atom contrast agents. ESI also provides mass-dependent and element-specific information at high resolution, permitting the distinguishing of structures that are primarily composed of protein, DNA, or RNA. The technique can be applied to understand the structural consequences of epigenetic modifications, such as modified histones, on chromatin fiber morphology. ESI can also be applied to elucidate the multifunctional behavior of subnuclear 'organelles' such as the nucleolus and promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies.

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