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Cell. 1997 Dec 12;91(6):845-54.

Association of transcriptionally silent genes with Ikaros complexes at centromeric heterochromatin.

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Lymphocyte Development Group, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Ikaros proteins are required for normal T, B, and NK cell development and are postulated to activate lymphocyte-specific gene expression. Here we examined Ikaros distribution in the nucleus of B lymphocytes using confocal microscopy and a novel immunofluorescence in situ hybridization (immuno-FISH) approach. Unexpectedly, Ikaros localized to discrete heterochromatin-containing foci in interphase nuclei, which comprise clusters of centromeric DNA as defined by gamma-satellite sequences and the abundance of heterochromatin protein-1 (HP-1). Using locus-specific probes for CD2, CD4, CD8alpha, CD19, CD45, and lambda5 genes, we show that transcriptionally inactive but not transcriptionally active genes associate with Ikaros-heterochromatin foci. These findings support a model of organization of the nucleus in which repressed genes are selectively recruited into centromeric domains.

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