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Chromosoma. 2012 Apr;121(2):191-9. doi: 10.1007/s00412-011-0353-6. Epub 2011 Dec 17.

Condensin dysfunction in human cells induces nonrandom chromosomal breaks in anaphase, with distinct patterns for both unique and repeated genomic regions.

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NIH NCI, Genome Structure and Function Section, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Condensin complexes are essential for chromosome condensation and segregation in mitosis, while condensin dysfunction, among other pathways leading to chromosomal bridging in mitosis, may play a role in tumor genomic instability, including recently discovered chromotripsis. To characterize potential double-strand breaks specifically occurring in late anaphase, human chromosomes depleted of condensin were analyzed by γ-H2AX ChIP followed by high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq). In condensin-depleted cells, the nonrepeated parts of the genome were shown to contain distinct γ-H2AX enrichment zones 75% of which overlapped with known hemizygous deletions in cancers. Furthermore, some tandemly repeated DNA sequences, analyzed separately from the rest of the genome, showed significant γ-H2AX enrichment in condensin-depleted anaphases. The most commonly occurring targets of such enrichment included simple repeats, centromeric satellites, and rDNA. The two latter categories indicate that acrocentric human chromosomes are especially susceptible to breaks upon condensin deficiency. The genomic regions that are specifically destabilized upon condensin dysfunction may constitute a condensin-specific chromosome destabilization pattern.

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