Untangling the role of DNA topoisomerase II in mitotic chromosome structure and function

Bioessays. 1997 Feb;19(2):97-9. doi: 10.1002/bies.950190203.


DNA topoisomerase II (topo II) is involved in chromosome structure and function, although its exact location and role in mitosis are somewhat controversial. This is due in part to the varied reports of its localization on mitotic chromosomes, which has been described at different times as uniformly distributed, axial on the chromosome arms and predominantly centromeric. These disparate results are probably due to several factors, including use of different preparation and fixation techniques, species differences and changes in distribution during the cell cycle. Recently, several papers have re-investigated the distribution of topo II on chromosomes as a function of cell cycle and species(1-3). The new studies suggest that Topo II has a dynamic pattern of distribution on the chromosomes, in general becoming axial as chromosomes condense during prophase and then concentrating at centromeres during metaphase. These experiments suggest a novel role for topo II in centromere structure and function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure*
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type II / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mitosis*


  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type II