Two different chromatin structures coexist in ribosomal RNA genes throughout the cell cycle

Cell. 1989 Jun 2;57(5):753-61. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(89)90790-3.


The structure of ribosomal chromatin in exponentially growing Friend cells, in stationary cells, and in metaphase chromosomes was studied by psoralen photocrosslinking. It is shown that in intact cells, two distinct types of ribosomal chromatin coexist in Friend cells, one that contains nucleosomes and represents the inactive copies and one that lacks a repeating structure and corresponds to the transcribed genes. A single gene copy is either in one or the other chromatin state. The relative amounts of the two types of structures are similar in interphase and metaphase, however, their run-on activities differ significantly. This suggests that the two states of chromatin are maintained independently of the transcriptional process and that they are stably propagated through the cell cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Chromatin / ultrastructure*
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • DNA, Ribosomal / drug effects
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics*
  • DNA, Ribosomal / isolation & purification
  • Leukemia, Erythroblastic, Acute / genetics
  • Metaphase / drug effects
  • Mice
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Trioxsalen / pharmacology


  • Chromatin
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Trioxsalen