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Physical reason for chromosome shape discovered
Date:1/14/2014

n energies in different regions. The nucleosomes in the periphery of the chromosome are less stabilized by the attractive interactions with other nucleosomes and this generates a surface potential that destabilizes the structure. Chromosomes are smooth cylinders because this morphology has a lower surface energy than structures having irregular surfaces. The symmetry breaking produced by the different values of the surface energies in the telomeres and in the lateral surface explains the elongated structure of the chromosomes.

The results obtained by other authors in nanomechanical studies of chromatin and chromosome stretching have been used to test the proposed supramolecular structure. It is demonstrated quantitatively that internucleosome interactions between chromatin layers can justify the work required for elastic chromosome stretching. Chromosomes can be considered as hydrogels with a lamellar liquid crystal organization. These hydrogels have outstanding elastic properties because, in addition to the covalent bonds of the DNA backbone, they have attractive ionic interactions between nucleosomes that can be regenerated when the chromosome suffers a deformation. This self-healing capacity has been observed in nanotechnology studies of other hydrogels stabilized by ionic interactions. In the cell, this may be useful for the maintenance of chromosome integrity during mitosis.


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Contact: Joan-Ramon Daban
Joanramon.daban@uab.cat
34-935-811-616
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Source:Eurekalert  

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