Bends in human mitotic metaphase chromosomes, including a bend marking the X-inactivation center

W. L. Flejter, D. L. Van Dyke, L. Weiss

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Bends in mitotic metaphase chromosomes are not distributed randomly throughout the karyotype. The frequency of bends at centromeres is positively correlated with the relative length of the chromosomes and negatively correlated with the centromere index (more bends in metacentrics, fewer in acrocentrics). The frequency of bends in the noncentromeric regions (except at Xq13-Xq21) is positively correlated with the relative length of chromosome arms. A bend at Xq13.3 to Xq21.1 was more frequent than a bend in any other region of the karyotype, centromeric or noncentromeric. It was observed in one member of the X-chromosome pair in 63% of 46,XX cells. In contrast, it was observed in only 2% of 46,XY cells. RBG-staining showed that this specific bend is confined to the lyonized X chromosome. These observations in cells from normal subjects were confirmed using G-banding and RBG-staining on cells from nine subjects with different X-chromosome abnormalities and on metaphases from amniotic fluid cell and lymphocyte cultures. The 'center for Barr body condensation' has been localized to the region between Xq11.2 and Xq21.1. The functional and structural relationship is unclear, but we believe this highly specific bend may represent a visible manifestation of the condensation process; it could represent the first folded (and last unfolded) position, upon or around which the rest of the chromosome condenses. The late replication of this region may also be a factor. The smallest region of overlap (SRO) for the X-chromosome inactivation center and the specific chromosome bend is Xq13.3 to Xq21.1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-226
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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