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Title: Correlating mammalian chromosome structure and function
Author: Croft, Jenny Anne
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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The euchromatin of mammalian chromosomes is broadly divided into two types with opposing characteristics: G-bands are revealed by Giemsa staining. These bands are generally late replicating, T-rich, low in gene density and appear to have a "closed" chromatin structure. R-bands are revealed by reverse Giemsa staining. These bands are generally early replicating, GC-rich, high in gene density and appear to have a more "open" chromatin structure. These two band types are intercalated throughout the mammalian genome making comparative studies of their behaviour difficult. However, in the human genome, chromosome 18 predominantly displays the features of G-bands and chromosome 19 generally displays the features of R-bands. These chromosomes were shown to be comparable in DNA content and size at metaphase and are, thus, ideal to investigate further the apparent links between chromosome structure and function. Some models of chromosome structure suggest differences in the higher order packaging of the different band types of metaphase chromosomes. Any differences should be reflected in the overall structure of chromosomes 18 and 19. Combining fluorescence in situ hybridisation and biochemical extraction of metaphase chromosomes, I detected no significant differences in their structure. In contrast, the two chromosomes demonstrated different structural characteristics in the interphase nucleus. I found that chromosome 18 occupies a relatively condensed territory, close to the periphery of the nucleus, while chromosome 19 occupies a considerably larger territory, more centrally located. My studies of different cell types and on cells at different stages of the cell cycle suggest that these characteristics generally apply in human cells, but not in a somatic cell hybrid background. Analysis of nuclei with a reciprocal 18:19 translocation showed that the translocated segments were orientated towards the positions occupied by their structurally normal homologues. The size but not the positioning of an interphase territory appears to be dependent on transcriptional activity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available