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Cancer Cell death Cell cycle Cytoskeleton Exo/endocytosis Differentiation Division Organelles Signalling Stem cells Trafficking
Cell Biology International (2000) 24, 723–728 (Printed in Great Britain)
Benedicto de Campos Vidal
Department of Cell Biology, Institute of Biology, State University of Campinas (Unicamp), Campinas, SP, PO Box 6109, 13083-970, Brazil


The present study was undertaken to test the reproducible formation of the extended chromatin fibres (ECF), beads and superbeads, and detect molecular order and crystallinity by optical anisotropies in those structures. Chicken erythrocyte smears and mouse liver cell imprints were treated with 2.0–3.0m NaCl solution in 1% Triton-X100 vertically prior to staining with 0.025% toluidine blue at pH4. Detection of birefringence and colours of abnormal dispersion of birefringence (ADB) following toluidine blue binding to DNA revealed that the DNA molecular order and crystallinity in decondensed and condensed chromatin are preserved after ECF formation. The tests for Con-A binding to mannose/glucose residues of glycoproteins was confirmed within nuclei, and in the ECF, beads and superbeads. ECF formation was not regular. Clumped cells did not show ECF, although chromatin mobility was observed within the nuclei. Electron microscopy demonstrated that after treatment of nuclei with 0.77m NaCl ECF always spread from the nuclei, in clumped nuclei the fibres aggregated instead of spreading.

Key words: extended chromatin fibres, nucleus, structural ordering, crystlaline array, concanavalin-A binding.

Received 6 August 1999; accepted 24 March 2000


ISSN Print: 1065-6995
ISSN Electronic: 1095-8355
Published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the International Federation for Cell Biology (IFCB)