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Cremer, Thomas; Cremer, Christoph; Baumann, H.; Luedtke, E. K.; Sperling, K.; Teuber, V.; Zorn, Christian (1982): Rabl's model of the interphase chromosome arrangement tested in Chinise hamster cells by premature chromosome condensation and laser-UV-microbeam experiments. In: Human Genetics, Vol. 60, No. 1: pp. 46-56


In 1885 Carl Rabl published his theory on the internal structure of the interphase nucleus. We have tested two predictions of this theory in fibroblasts grown in vitro from a female Chinese hamster, namely (1) the Rabl-orientation of interphase chromosomes and (2) the stability of the chromosome arrangement established in telophase throughout the subsequent interphase. Tests were carried out by premature chromosome condensation (PCC) and laser-UV-microirradiation of the interphase nucleus. Rabl-orientation of chromosomes was observed in G1 PCCs and G2 PCCs. The cell nucleus was microirradiated in G1 at one or two sites and pulse-labelled with 3H-thymidine for 2h. Cells were processed for autoradiography either immediately thereafter or after an additional growth period of 10 to 60h. Autoradiographs show unscheduled DNA synthesis (UDS) in the microirradiated nuclear part(s). The distribution of labelled chromatin was evaluated in autoradiographs from 1035 cells after microirradiation of a single nuclear site and from 253 cells after microirradiation of two sites. After 30 to 60h postincubation the labelled regions still appeared coherent although the average size of the labelled nuclear area fr increased from 14.2% (0h) to 26.5% (60h). The relative distance dr, i.e. the distance between two microirradiated sites divided by the diameter of the whole nucleus, showed a slight decrease with increasing incubation time. Nine metaphase figures were evaluated for UDS-label after microirradiation of the nuclear edge in G1. An average of 4.3 chromosomes per cell were labelled. Several chromosomes showed joint labelling of both distal chromosome arms including the telomeres, while the centromeric region was free from label. This label pattern is interpreted as the result of a V-shaped orientation of these particular chromosomes in the interphase nucleus with their telomeric regions close to each other at the nuclear edge. Our data support the tested predictions of the Rabl-model. Small time-dependent changes of the nuclear space occupied by single chromosomes and of their relative positions in the interphase nucleus seem possible, while the territorial organization of interphase chromosomes and their arrangement in general is maintained during interphase. The present limitations of the methods used for this study are discussed.