, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 122-129

New data on the in situ position of the inactive X chromosome in the interphase nucleus of human fibroblasts

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The in situ spatial distribution of nucleolus-organizing-region (NOR) bearing chromosomes in relation to the inactive X chromosome was studied during interphase in human fibroblasts. The respective positions of these chromosomes were examined in 30 growing and 32 resting fibroblasts from reconstructed nuclei, using nucleoli and the Barr body as ultrastructural markers. Experimental values for the distance between the nucleoli and the Barr body were estimated by their coefficient of closeness and compared to the uniform distribution. The following results were obtained: (1) the distribution patterns for the two populations of nuclei were similar, (2) the distribution of the NOR-bearing chromosomes in relation to the inactive X chromosome varied and differed significantly from a uniform distribution, and (3) in many cases the Barr body was observed to be in a juxta-nucleolar position. The internal distribution revealed by this study is compared with the data in the literature, especially with the conflicting data obtained by other methods used to determine the interphase arrangement of chromosomes. The relationship between interphase and metaphase arrangements such as can be deduced with these methods, is discussed in relation to the mechanisms of the formation of metaphase plates or chromatid translocations.