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Mutagenesis. 1996 Jul;11(4):405-13.

Analysis of the DNA content distribution of micronuclei using flow sorting and fluorescent in situ hybridization with a centromeric DNA probe.

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GSF-Forschungszentrum, AG Durchflusszytometrie, 85758 Oberschleissheim, Germany.


The DNA content distributions of micronuclei induced in mouse 3T3 cells by ionizing radiation and chemicals was measured by flow cytometry. For a quantitative understanding of these distributions, micronuclei with increasing DNA contents were sorted and analysed for the presence of centromeric signals using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) with a mouse centromeric gamma satellite probe. Radiation-induced micronuclei were found to be produced mainly by chromosome fragments, whereas micronuclei induced by the tear gas chlorobenzylidene malonitrile (CS) were found to be produced mainly by whole chromatids. In contrast, micronuclei induced by vinblastine (VBL) were, according to the shape of their DNA content distributions, produced mainly by whole chromosomes and by combinations of two or more whole chromosomes. With increasing DNA content, micronuclei induced by ionizing radiation also contained one or more whole chromosomes, whereas micronuclei induced by CS or VBL were found to contain several whole chromatids or chromosomes respectively. Computerized random breakage of chromosomes and random combination of chromosome fragments, whole chromatids and whole chromosomes were used according to the FISH results to simulate the measured DNA content distributions of micronuclei. A good agreement was obtained between measured and simulated distributions of micronuclei as well as between results of the measured frequency of micronuclei showing centromeric signals as a function of their DNA content and those predicted by the simulations. These results demonstrate the usefulness of flow cytometry and sorting combined with the FISH technique and computer simulations for producing a more detailed analysis of mechanisms of micronucleus induction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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