Long-range directional movement of an interphase chromosome site

Curr Biol. 2006 Apr 18;16(8):825-31. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2006.03.059.


Increasing evidence suggests functional compartmentalization of interphase nuclei. This includes preferential interior localization of gene-rich and early replicating chromosome regions versus peripheral localization of gene-poor and late replicating chromosome regions , association of some active genes with nuclear speckles or transcription "factories", and association of transcriptionally repressed genes with heterochromatic regions. Dynamic changes in chromosome compartmentalization imply mechanisms for long-range interphase chromatin movements. However, live cell imaging in mammalian cells has revealed limited chromatin mobility, described as "constrained diffusion". None of these studies, though, have examined a chromosome locus undergoing an inducible repositioning between two different nuclear compartments. Here we demonstrate migration of an interphase chromosome site from the nuclear periphery to the interior 1-2 hr after targeting a transcriptional activator to this site. Spot redistribution is perturbed by specific actin or nuclear myosin I mutants. Extended periods of chromosome immobility are interspersed with several minute periods in which chromosomes move unidirectionally along curvilinear paths oriented roughly perpendicular to the nuclear envelope at velocities of 0.1-0.9 microm/min over distances of 1-5 microm. Our results suggest an active mechanism for fast and directed long-range interphase chromosome movements dependent directly or indirectly on actin/myosin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / physiology
  • Animals
  • CHO Cells / cytology
  • Chromosome Positioning / physiology*
  • Chromosomes / metabolism
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Interphase / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Myosins / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Actins
  • Myosins