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Movement of chromosome in nucleus visualized

icular to the nuclear envelope. The chromosome traveled further in several minutes than ever observed, even over several hours, in the absence of activation.

"It looked nothing like the random, but localized, bouncing around that had been previously observed," he said.

Belmont's group collaborated with Primal de Lanerolle, professor of physiology and biophysics at UIC, who had discovered a type of myosin in the nucleus. Most myosin molecules are found in the cytoplasm, where they interact with actin filaments to do physical work. Because these molecules can contract muscles or move things around, they are called molecular motors. de Lanerolle and his colleagues were able to offer the Belmont laboratory a number of ways to test whether the chromosome movement was actin/myosin-dependent.

When the researchers introduced a mutant form of myosin protein to the nucleus, the movement slowed. Introducing a mutant actin that does not form filaments stopped the movement, while the introduction of an actin mutant that enhances filament formation accelerated the movement. In addition, when a drug that inhibits actin/myosin interactions was added to the cells, the chromosome movement was stopped completely. These experiments conclusively established that actin and myosin are involved in this chromosome movement.

"While we have known for a long time that actin is present in the nucleus and we had shown that myosin is also present in the nucleus, nobody really knew if they worked together," said de Lanerolle.

"There has been tantalizing evidence of organization in the nucleus--active genes found in the central region associated with nucleus complexes of transcription machinery necessary for gene expression, while inactive genes are found at the periphery," Belmont said. "For the first time, we have been able to observe an active mechanism for directed long-range chromosome movements that depend directly or indirectly on actin and myosin."<
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Source:University of Illinois at Chicago


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