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Cryo-electron microscopy of vitrified SV40 minichromosomes: the liquid drop model
Journal Article --- Old month value: Mar
The structure of SV40 minichromosomes has been studied by cryo-electron microscopy of vitrified thin layers of solution. In high-salt buffer (130 mM NaCl), freshly prepared minichromosomes are condensed into globules 30 nm or more in diameter. On the micrograph, they appear to be formed by the close packing of 10 nm granules which give rise to a 10 nm reflection in the optical diffractogram. The globules can adopt many different conformations. At high concentration, they fuse into a homogeneous 'sea' of closely packed 10 nm granules. In low-salt buffer (less than 10 mM NaCl), the globules open, first into 10 nm filaments, and then into nucleosome-strings. The 'liquid drop' model is proposed to explain the condensed structure of the minichromosome in high-salt buffer: nucleosomes stack specifically on top of one another, thus forming the 10 nm filaments. 10 nm filaments in turn, tend to aggregate laterally. Optimizing both these interactions results in the condensation of 10 nm filaments or portions thereof into a structure similar to that of a liquid. Some implications of this model for the structure of cellular chromatin are discussed.
Animals Cell Line Cercopithecus aethiops Chromosomes/*ultrastructure DNA Replication Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel Freezing Kidney Microscopy, Electron Nucleoproteins/isolation & purification Simian virus 40/genetics/*ultrastructure
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