[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Specific nuclear domains are nonrandomly positioned within the nuclear space, and this preferential positioning has been shown to play an important role in genome activity and stability. Well-known examples include the organization of repetitive DNA in telomere clusters or in the chromocenter of Drosophila and mammalian cells, which may provide a means to control the availability of general repressors, such as the heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1). We have specifically characterized the intranuclear positioning of in vivo fluorescence of the Caenorhabditis elegans HP1 homologue HPL-2 as a marker for heterochromatin domains in developing embryos. For this purpose, the wavelet transform modulus maxima (WTMM) segmentation method was generalized and adapted to segment the small embryonic cell nuclei in three dimensions. The implementation of a radial distribution algorithm revealed a preferential perinuclear positioning of HPL-2 fluorescence in wild-type embryos compared with the diffuse and homogeneous nuclear fluorescence observed in the lin-13 mutants. For all other genotypes analyzed, the quantitative analysis highlighted various degrees of preferential HPL-2 positioning at the nuclear periphery, which directly correlates with the number of HPL-2 foci previously counted on 2D projections. Using a probabilistic 3D cell nuclear model, we found that any two nuclei having the same number of foci, but with a different 3D probabilistic positioning scheme, can have significantly different counts in the 2D maximum projection, thus showing the deceptive limitations of using techniques of 2D maximum projection foci counts. By this approach, a strong perinuclear positioning of HPL-2 foci was brought into light upon inactivation of conserved chromatin-associated proteins, including the HAT cofactor TRAPP.
Chromosome Research 12/2010; 18(8):873-85. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interphase chromosomes are organized into discrete chromosome territories (CTs) that may occupy preferred sub-nuclear positions. While chromosome size and gene density appear to influence positioning, the biophysical mechanisms behind CT localization, especially the relationship between morphology and positioning, remain obscure. One reason for this has been the difficulty in imaging, segmenting, and analyzing structures with variable or imprecise boundaries. This prompted us to develop a novel approach, based on the two-dimensional (2D) wavelet-transform modulus maxima (WTMM) method, adapted to perform objective and rigorous CT segmentation from nuclear background. The wavelet transform acts as a mathematical microscope to characterize spatial image information over a continuous range of size scales. This multiresolution nature, combined with full objectivity of the formalism, makes it more accurate than intensity-based segmentation algorithms and more appropriate than manual intervention. Using the WTMM method in combination with numerical simulation models, we show that CTs have a highly nonspherical 3D morphology, that CT positioning is nonrandom, and favors heterologous CT groupings. We discuss potential relationships between morphology, positioning, chromosomal function, and instability.
Chromosome Research 02/2007; 15(7):899-916. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Radiation exposure is an occupational hazard for military personnel, some health care professionals, airport security screeners, and medical patients, with some individuals at risk for acute, high-dose exposures. Therefore, the biological effects of radiation, especially the potential for chromosome damage, are major occupational and health concerns. However, the biophysical mechanisms of chromosome instability subsequent to radiation-induced DNA damage are poorly understood. It is clear that interphase chromosomes occupy discrete structural and functional subnuclear domains, termed chromosome territories (CT), which may be organized into 'neighborhoods' comprising groups of specific CTs. We directly evaluated the relationship between chromosome positioning, neighborhood composition, and translocation partner choice in primary lymphocytes, using a cell-based system in which we could induce multiple, concentrated DNA breaks via high-dose irradiation. We critically evaluated mis-rejoining profiles and tested whether breaks occurring nearby were more likely to fuse than breaks occurring at a distance. We show that CT neighborhoods comprise heterologous chromosomes, within which inter-CT distances directly relate to translocation partner choice. These findings demonstrate that interphase chromosome arrangement is a principal factor in genomic instability outcomes in primary lymphocytes, providing a structural context for understanding the biological effects of radiation exposure, and the molecular etiology of tumor-specific translocation patterns.
Chromosome Research 02/2007; 15(8):1061-73. · 2.85 Impact Factor