Article

Chromosoma

, Volume 97, Issue 6, pp 475-480

Chromosome specificity of satellite DNAs: short- and long-range organization of a diverged dimeric subset of human alpha satellite from chromosome 3

  • John S. WayeAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Genetics, University of Toronto
  • , Huntington F. WillardAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Genetics, University of Toronto

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Abstract

The human alpha satellite DNA family, like many highly repeated satellite DNAs in eukaryotic genomes, is organized in distinct chromosome-specific subsets. As part of investigations into the molecular and evolutionary basis for the chromosome-specific nature of such subsets, we report the isolation and characterization of alpha satellite sequences specific for human chromosome 3. This subset is characterized by a predominant tandemly arranged ∼2.9 kb higher-order repeat unit which, in turn, consists of 17 tandem diverged monomer repeat units of ∼171 bp. Nucleotide sequence analysis reveals that the chromosome 3 higher-order repeat units are comprised, at least in part, of diverged dimeric (∼ 340 bp) sub-repeats and that this divergence accounts for the chromosome-specific behavior of this subset. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis demonstrates that the chromosome 3 higher-order repeat units are localized in large domains, at least 1000 kb in length. Familial restriction fragment length polymorphisms associated with the satellite subset can be detected by pulsed field gel electrophoresis and may facilitate molecular analysis of interchromosomal variation.