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Bioessays. 1994 Mar;16(3):179-85.

The chromosome periphery during mitosis.

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Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, France.


A complex structure, visible by electron microscopy, surrounds each chromosome during mitosis. The organization of this structure is distinct from that of the chromosomes and the cytoplasm. It forms a perichromosomal layer that can be isolated together with the chromosomes. This layer covers the chromosomes except in centromeric regions. The perichromosomal layer includes nuclear and nucleolar proteins as well as ribonucleoproteins (RNPs). The list of proteins and RNAs identified includes nuclear matrix proteins (perichromin, peripherin), nucleolar proteins (perichro-monucleolin, Ki-67 antigen, B23 protein, fibrillarin, p103, p52), ribosomal proteins (S1) and snRNAs (U3 RNAs). Only limited information is available about how and when the perichromosomal layer is formed. During early prophase, the proteins extend from the nucleoli towards the periphery of the nucleus. Thin cordon-like structures reach the nuclear envelope delimiting areas in which chromosomes condense. At telophase, the proteins are associated with the part of the chromosomes remaining condensed and accumulate in newly formed nucleoli in regions where chromatin is already decondensed. The perichromosomal layer contains several different classes of proteins and RNPs and it has been attributed various roles: (1) in chromosome organization, (2) as a barrier around the chromosomes, (3) involvement in compartmentation of the cells in prophase and telophase and (4) a binding site for chromosomal passenger proteins necessary to the early process of nuclear assembly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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