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Theor Appl Genet. 1991 Jul;82(1):101-11. doi: 10.1007/BF00231283.

Preparation and flow cytometric analysis of metaphase chromosomes of tomato.

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Department of Plant Breeding and Biometry, Cornell University, 14853-1902, Ithaca, NY, USA.


A procedure for the preparation of tomato chromosome suspensions suitable for flow cytometric analysis is described. Rapidly growing cell suspension cultures of Lycopersicon esculentum cv VFNT cherry and L. pennellii LA716 were treated with colchicine to enrich for metaphase chromosomes. Metaphase indices between 20 and 35% were routinely obtained when cultures were exposed to 0.1% colchicine for 15-18 h after 2 days of subculture. Mitotic cells were isolated by brief treatment with cell wall digesting enzymes in a medium with low osmolarity (∼325 mOsm/kg of H52O). The low osmolarity medium was needed to avoid the chromosome clumping and decondensation seen in standard media. Suspensions of intact chromosomes were prepared by lysing swollen protoplasts in various buffers (MgSO4, polyamines, hexylene glycol, or KCl-propidium iodide) similar in contents to the buffers used to isolate mammalian chromosomes. For univariate flow cytometric analysis, chromosome suspensions were stained with a fluorescent DNA-binding stain (propidium iodide, Hoechst 33258, mithramycin, or chromomycin A3) and analyzed using an EPICS flow cytometer (Profile Analyzer or 753). Peaks for the chromosomes, chromatids, clumps of chromosomes, nuclei, and fluorescent debris were seen on a histogram of log of fluorescence intensity, and were confirmed by microscopic examination of the objects collected by flow-sorting. Chromosome suspensions prepared in MgSO4 buffer have the highest frequency of intact chromosomes and the least fluorescent cellular debris. Peaks similar to theoretical univariate flow karyotypes of tomato chromosomes were seen on the observed univariate flow karyotypes, but were not as well resolved. Bivariate flow analysis of tomato chromosome suspension using double-stain combination, Hoechst 33258 and chromomycin A3, and two laser beams showed better resolution of some chromosomes.

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