Chemical cross-linking and DNA sequencing have revealed regions of intra-chromosomal interaction, referred to as topologically associating domains (TADs), interspersed with regions of little or no interaction, in interphase nuclei. We find that TADs and the regions between them correspond with the bands and interbands of polytene chromosomes of Drosophila. We further establish the conservation of TADs between polytene and diploid cells of Drosophila. From direct measurements on light micrographs of polytene chromosomes, we then deduce the states of chromatin folding in the diploid cell nucleus. Two states of folding, fully extended fibers containing regulatory regions and promoters, and fibers condensed up to 10-fold containing coding regions of active genes, constitute the euchromatin of the nuclear interior. Chromatin fibers condensed up to 30-fold, containing coding regions of inactive genes, represent the heterochromatin of the nuclear periphery. A convergence of molecular analysis with direct observation thus reveals the architecture of interphase chromosomes.
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