Large-scale chromatin organization of the major histocompatibility complex and other regions of human chromosome 6 and its response to interferon in interphase nuclei

J Cell Sci. 2000 May;113 ( Pt 9):1565-76. doi: 10.1242/jcs.113.9.1565.


The large-scale chromatin organization of the major histocompatibility complex and other regions of chromosome 6 was studied by three-dimensional image analysis in human cell types with major differences in transcriptional activity. Entire gene clusters were visualized by fluorescence in situ hybridization with multiple locus-specific probes. Individual genomic regions showed distinct configurations in relation to the chromosome 6 terrritory. Large chromatin loops containing several megabases of DNA were observed extending outwards from the surface of the domain defined by the specific chromosome 6 paint. The frequency with which a genomic region was observed on an external chromatin loop was cell type dependent and appeared to be related to the number of active genes in that region. Transcriptional up-regulation of genes in the major histocompatibility complex by interferon-gamma led to an increase in the frequency with which this large gene cluster was found on an external chromatin loop. Our data are consistent with an association between large-scale chromatin organization of specific genomic regions and their transcriptional status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects*
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 6*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology*
  • Interphase / drug effects
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / genetics*
  • Male
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Chromatin
  • Interferon-gamma