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A proposed unified interphase nucleus chromosome structure: Preliminary preponderance of evidence


Cryoelectron tomography of the cell nucleus using scanning transmission electron microscopy and deconvolution processing technology has highlighted a large-scale, 100- to 300-nm interphase chromosome structure, which is present throughout the nucleus. This study further documents and analyzes these chromosome structures. The paper is divided into four parts: 1) evidence (preliminary) for a unified interphase chromosome structure; 2) a proposed unified interphase chromosome architecture; 3) organization as chromosome territories (e.g., fitting the 46 human chromosomes into a 10-μm-diameter nucleus); and 4) structure unification into a polytene chromosome architecture and lampbrush chromosomes. Finally, the paper concludes with a living light microscopy cell study showing that the G1 nucleus contains very similar structures throughout. The main finding is that this chromosome structure appears to coil the 11-nm nucleosome fiber into a defined hollow structure, analogous to a Slinky helical spring [; motif used in Bowerman et al., eLife 10, e65587 (2021)]. This Slinky architecture can be used to build chromosome territories, extended to the polytene chromosome structure, as well as to the structure of lampbrush chromosomes.

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