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Fine-structural aspects of bromodeoxyuridine incorporation in sister chromatid differentiation and replication banding

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christine Harrison FRCPath FMedSci


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The structure of harlequin-stained chromosomes following substitution with low levels of 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) over two cell cycles and high levels over the last part of one cycle (replication banding) was studied in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. By using correlative light (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), it was shown that the effects of both the ultraviolet light (u.v.) and hot SSC treatment steps of the harlequin staining procedure were necessary to obtain sister-chromatid differentiation (SCD) or replication banding. u.v. treatment alone resulted in dark Giemsa staining of both chromatids with SEM morphology of short compact protuberances and an overall flattened smooth appearance in both the unsubstituted and BrdUrd-substituted chromatids, a morphology essentially similar to that of untreated chromosomes. SSC alone on the other hand resulted in dark-staining chromatids with an SEM morphology of raised, loosely packed loops of fibres in both types of chromatids. u.v. and SSC treatment together resulted in differentiation, with dark-staining unifilarly (TB) chromatids in the LM corresponding to raised loosely packed loops in the SEM and pale bifilarly (BB) chromatids corresponding to the smooth compact flattened SEM appearance. Where the BrdUrd-substituted strand became the template (BT), or when the nascent strand TB contained high levels of BrdUrd substitution in replication banding, the chromatid stained pale and showed the compact smooth appearance in the SEM. The Giemsa staining ability and ultrastructural morphology of harlequin staining is discussed with respect to putative DNA loss and also in terms of preferential protein-protein, protein-DNA cross-linkage in BrdUrd-containing DNA. These changes are also compared with the ultrastructural morphology observed after other banding methods, where deterioration of protein and DNA-protein interaction resulting in aggregation of chromatin fibres appears to be the major mechanism.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jack EM, Harrison CJ, White GR, Ockey CH, Allen TD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Cell Science

Year: 1989

Volume: 94

Issue: 2

Pages: 287-297

Print publication date: 01/10/1989

ISSN (print): 0021-9533

ISSN (electronic): 1477-9137

Publisher: The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Notes: Journal Article Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't England