In situ hybridization has become a standard method for localizing DNA or RNA sequences in cytological preparations. We developed two methods to extend this technique to the transmission electron microscope level using mouse satellite DNA hybridization to whole mount metaphase chromosomes as the test system. The first method devised is a direct extension of standard light microscope level using mouse satellite DNA hybridization to whole mount metaphase chromosomes as the test system. The first method devised is a direct extension of standard light microscope in situ hybridization. Radioactively labeled complementary RNA (cRNA) is hybridized to metaphase chromosomes deposited on electron microscope grids and fixed in 70 percent ethanol vapor; hybridixation site are detected by autoradiography. Specific and intense labeling of chromosomal centromeric regions is observed even after relatively short exposure times. Inerphase nuclei present in some of the metaphase chromosome preparations also show defined paatterms of satellite DNA labeling which suggests that satellite-containing regions are associate with each other during interphase. The sensitivity of this method is estimated to at least as good as that at the light microscope level while the resolution is improved at least threefold. The second method, which circumvents the use of autoradiogrphic detection, uses biotin-labeled polynucleotide probes. After hybridization of these probes, either DNA or RNA, to fixed chromosomes on grids, hybrids are detected via reaction is improved at least threefold. The second method, which circumvents the use of autoradiographic detection, uses biotin-labeled polynucleotide probes. After hybridization of these probes, either DNA or RNA, to fixed chromosomes on grids, hybrids are detected via reaction with an antibody against biotin and secondary antibody adsorbed to the surface of over centromeric heterochromatin and along the associated peripheral fibers. Labeling is on average ten times that of background binding. This method is rapid and possesses the potential to allow precise ultrastructual localization of DNA sequences in chromosomes and chromatin.

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