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Schroeder-Reiter, E.; Wanner, Gerhard (2009): Chromosome Centromeres: Structural and Analytical Investigations with High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscopy in Combination with Focused Ion Beam Milling. In: Cytogenetic and Genome Research, Nr. 3-4: S. 239-250


Whole mount mitotic metaphase chromosomes of different plants and animals were investigated with high resolution field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) to study the ultrastructural organization of centromeres, including metacentric, acrocentric, telocentric, and holocentric chromosome variants. It could be shown that, in general, primary constrictions have distinctive ultrastructural features characterized by parallel matrix fibrils and fewer smaller chromomeres. Exposure of these structures depends on cell cycle synchronization prior to chromosome isolation, chromosome size, and chromosome isolation technique. Chromosomes without primary constrictions, small chromosomes, and holocentric chromosomes do not exhibit distinct ultrastructural elements that could be directly correlated to centromere function. Putative spindle structures, although rarely observed, spread over the primary constriction to the bordering pericentric regions. Analytical FESEM techniques, including specific DNA staining with Pt blue, staining of protein as a substance class with silver-colloid, and artificial loosening of fixed chromosomes with proteinase K, were applied, showing that centromere variants and ultrastructural elements in the centromere differ in DNA and protein distribution. Immunogold localization allowed high-resolution comparison between chromosomes with different centromere orientations of the distribution of centromere-related histone variants, phosphorylated histone H3 (ser10), and CENH3. A novel application of FESEM combined with focused ion beam milling (FIB) provided new insights into the spatial distribution of these histone variants in barley chromosomes. Copyright (C) 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel