Size-dependent positioning of human chromosomes in interphase nuclei

Biophys J. 2000 Jul;79(1):184-90. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(00)76282-5.


By using a fluorescence in situ hybridization technique we revealed that for nine different q-arm telomere markers the positioning of chromosomes in human G(1) interphase nuclei was chromosome size-dependent. The q-arm telomeres of large chromosomes are more peripherally located than telomeres on small chromosomes. This highly organized arrangement of chromatin within the human nucleus was discovered by determining the x and y coordinates of the hybridization sites and calculating the root-mean-square radial distance to the nuclear centers in human fibroblasts. We demonstrate here that global organization within the G(1) interphase nucleus is affected by one of the most fundamental physical quantities-chromosome size or mass-and propose two biophysical models, a volume exclusion model and a mitotic preset model, to explain our finding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus / genetics*
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromosomes, Human / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human / metabolism
  • Chromosomes, Human / ultrastructure*
  • DNA Probes / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Interphase / genetics*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Normal Distribution
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Telomere / ultrastructure


  • DNA Probes