We determined the folding of chromosomes in interphase nuclei by measuring the distance between points on the same chromosome. Over 25,000 measurements were made in G0/G1 nuclei between DNA sequences separated by 0.15-190 megabase pairs (Mbp) on three human chromosomes. The DNA sequences were specifically labeled by fluorescence in situ hybridization. The relationship between mean-square interphase distance and genomic separation has two linear phases, with a transition at approximately 2 Mbp. This biphasic relationship indicates the existence of two organizational levels at scales > 100 kbp. On one level, chromatin appears to be arranged in large loops several Mbp in size. Within each loop, chromatin is randomly folded. On the second level, specific loop-attachment sites are arranged to form a supple, backbonelike structure, which also shows characteristic random walk behavior. This random walk/giant loop model is the simplest model that fully describes the observed large-scale spatial relationships. Additional evidence for large loops comes from measurements among probes in Xq28, where interphase distance increases and then locally decreases with increasing genomic separation.
Evidence for the organization of chromatin in megabase pair-sized loops arranged along a random walk path in the human G0/G1 interphase nucleus.
H Yokota, G van den Engh, J E Hearst, R K Sachs, B J Trask; Evidence for the organization of chromatin in megabase pair-sized loops arranged along a random walk path in the human G0/G1 interphase nucleus.. J Cell Biol 15 September 1995; 130 (6): 1239–1249. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.130.6.1239
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