, Volume 114, Issue 6, pp 377-388

First online:

The perichromosomal layer

  • Aaron A. Van HooserAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California Email author 
  • , Patrick YuhAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California
  • , Rebecca HealdAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California

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In addition to genetic information, mitotic chromosomes transmit essential components for nuclear assembly and function in a new cell cycle. A specialized chromosome domain, called the perichromosomal layer, perichromosomal sheath, chromosomal coat, or chromosome surface domain, contains proteins required for a variety of cellular processes, including the synthesis of messenger RNA, assembly of ribosomes, repair of DNA double-strand breaks, telomere maintenance, and apoptosis regulation. The layer also contains many proteins of unknown function and is a major target in autoimmune disease. Perichromosomal proteins are found along the entire length of chromosomes, excluding centromeres, where sister chromatids are paired and spindle microtubules attach. Targeting of proteins to the perichromosomal layer occurs primarily during prophase, and they generally remain associated until telophase. During interphase, perichromosomal proteins localize to nucleoli, the nuclear envelope, nucleoplasm, heterochromatin, centromeres, telomeres, and/or the cytoplasm. It has been suggested that the perichromosomal layer may contribute to chromosome structure, as several of the associated proteins have functions in chromatin remodeling during interphase. We review the identified proteins associated with this chromosome domain and briefly discuss their known functions during interphase and mitosis.