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Mol Biol Cell. 1996 May;7(5):825-42.

Specific interactions of chromatin with the nuclear envelope: positional determination within the nucleus in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA.


Specific interactions of chromatin with the nuclear envelope (NE) in early embryos of Drosophila melanogaster have been mapped and analyzed. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization, the three-dimensional positions of 42 DNA probes, primarily to chromosome 2L, have been mapped in nuclei of intact Drosophila embryos, revealing five euchromatic and two heterochromatic regions associated with the NE. These results predict that there are approximately 15 NE contacts per chromosome arm, which delimit large chromatin loops of approximately 1-2 Mb. These NE association sites do not strictly correlate with scaffold-attachment regions, heterochromatin, or binding sites of known chromatin proteins. Pairs of neighboring probes surrounding one NE association site were used to delimit the NE association site more precisely, suggesting that peripheral localization of a large stretch of chromatin is likely to result from NE association at a single discrete site. These NE interactions are not established until after telophase, by which time the nuclear envelope has reassembled around the chromosomes, and they are thus unlikely to be involved in binding of NE vesicles to chromosomes following mitosis. Analysis of positions of these probes also reveals that the interphase nucleus is strongly polarized in a Rabl configuration which, together with specific targeting to the NE or to the nuclear interior, results in each locus occupying a highly determined position within the nucleus.

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