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Sci Rep. 2016 Dec 2;6:38281. doi: 10.1038/srep38281.

Calcium ions function as a booster of chromosome condensation.

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Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, 2-1 Yamadaoka, Suita 565-0871, Osaka, Japan.
The Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, 8916-5 Takayama-Cho Ikoma-shi, Nara 630-0192, Japan.
Supportive Center for Brain Research, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Okazaki, Aichi 444-8585, Japan.


Chromosome condensation is essential for the faithful transmission of genetic information to daughter cells during cell division. The depletion of chromosome scaffold proteins does not prevent chromosome condensation despite structural defects. This suggests that other factors contribute to condensation. Here we investigated the contribution of divalent cations, particularly Ca2+, to chromosome condensation in vitro and in vivo. Ca2+ depletion caused defects in proper mitotic progression, particularly in chromosome condensation after the breakdown of the nuclear envelope. Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy-Förster resonance energy transfer and electron microscopy demonstrated that chromosome condensation is influenced by Ca2+. Chromosomes had compact globular structures when exposed to Ca2+ and expanded fibrous structures without Ca2+. Therefore, we have clearly demonstrated a role for Ca2+ in the compaction of chromatin fibres.

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