In situ nick-translation distinguishes between active and inactive X chromosomes

Bat Sheva Kerem*, Ruth Goitein, Carmelit Richler, Menashe Marcus, Howard Cedar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Template-active regions of chromatin are structurally distinct from nontranscribing segments of the genome. Recently, it was suggested that the conformation of active genes which renders them sensitive to DNase I may be maintained even in fixed mitotic chromosomes. We have developed a technique of mitotic cell fixation and DNase I-directed nick-translation which distinguishes between active and inactive X chromosomes. We report here that Gerbillus gerbillus (rodent) female cells contain easily identified composite X chromosomes each of which includes the original X chromosome flanked by two characteristic autosomal segments. After nick-translation the active X chromosome in each cell is labelled specifically in both the autosomal and X-chromosomal regions. The inactive X chromosome is labelled only in the autosomal regions and in a small early replicating band within the late replicating 'original X' chromosome. Our technique opens the possibility of following the kinetics of X-chromosome inactivation and reactivation during embryogenesis, studying active genes in the inactive X chromosome and mapping tissue-specific gene clusters.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)88-90
Number of pages3
Issue number5921
StatePublished - 1983


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