Elasticity measurements show the existence of thin rigid cores inside mitotic chromosomes

Bahram Houchmandzadeh, Stefan Dimitrov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Chromosome condensation is one of the most critical steps during cell division. However, the structure of condensed mitotic chromosomes is poorly understood. In this paper we describe a new approach based on elasticity measurements for studying the structure of in vitro assembled mitotic chromosomes in Xenopus egg extract. The approach is based on a unique combination of measurements of both longitudinal deformability and bending rigidity of whole chromosomes. By using specially designed micropipettes, the chromosome force-extension curve was determined. Analysis of the curvature fluctuation spectrum allowed for the measurement of chromosome bending ridigity. The relationship between the values of these two parameters is very specific: the measured chromosome flexibility was found to be 2,000 times lower than the flexibility calculated from the experimentally determined Young modulus. This requires the chromosome structure to be formed of one or a few thin rigid elastic axes surrounded by a soft envelope. The properties of these axes are well-described by models developed for the elasticity of titin-like molecules. Additionally, the deformability of in vitro assembled chromosomes was found to be very similar to that of native somatic chromosomes, thus demonstrating the existence of an essentially identical structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Volume145
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

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Elasticity
Chromosomes
Connectin
Chromosome Structures
Elastic Modulus
Xenopus
Cell Division
Ovum

Keywords

  • Elasticity
  • Flexural rigidity
  • In vitro assembled chromosomes
  • Mitotic chromosome structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Elasticity measurements show the existence of thin rigid cores inside mitotic chromosomes. / Houchmandzadeh, Bahram; Dimitrov, Stefan.

In: Journal of Cell Biology, Vol. 145, No. 2, 06.2000, p. 215-223.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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