, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 131–136 | Cite as

The mechanism and pattern of banding induced by restriction endonucleases in human chromosomes

  • Martha S. Bianchi
  • Néstor O. Bianchi
  • Gabriel E. Pantelias
  • Sheldon Wolff


The mechanism of chromosome banding induced by restriction endonucleases was analyzed by measuring the amount of radioactivity extracted from [14C]thymidine-labeled chromosomes digested first with restriction enzymes and subsequently with proteinase K and DNase I. Restriction enzymes with a high frequency of recognition sites in the DNA produced a large number of short DNA fragments, which were extracted from chromosomes during incubation with the enzyme. This loss of DNA resulted in decreased chromosomal staining, which did not occur in regions resistant to restriction enzyme digestion and thus led to banding. Subsequent digestion of chromosomes with proteinase K produced a further loss of DNA, which probably corresponded to long fragments retained in the chromosome by the proteins of fixed chromatin. Restriction enzymes induce chromatin digestion and banding in G1 and metaphase chromosomes, and they induce digestion and the appearance of chromocenters in interphase nuclei. This suggests that the spatial organization and folding of the chromatin fibril plays little or no role in the mechanism of chromosome banding.

It was confirmed that the pattern of chromosome banding induced by AluI, MboI, HaeIII, DdeI, RsaI, and HinfI is characteristic for each endonuclease. Moreover, several restriction banding polymorphisms that were not found by conventional C-banding were detected, indicating that there may be a range of variability in the frequency and distribution of restriction sites in homologous chromosome regions.


Fibril Restriction Enzyme Human Chromosome Recognition Site Spatial Organization 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martha S. Bianchi
    • 1
  • Néstor O. Bianchi
    • 1
  • Gabriel E. Pantelias
    • 1
  • Sheldon Wolff
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Radiobiology and Environmental HealthUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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