Arabidopsissister chromatids often show complete alignment or separation along a 1.2-Mb euchromatic region but no cohesion “hot spots”

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Sister chromatid cohesion is a prerequisite for correct segregation and possibly other functions of replicated chromosomes. Except for yeast, no details are known about arrangement of cohesion sites along interphase chromosomes. Within nuclei of several higher plants, sister chromatids are frequently not aligned at various positions along chromosome arms. Therefore, we tested whether preferential alignment positions (“cohesion hot spots”) and constant extension of and distances between aligned sites occur in plants. Along a ˜1.2-Mb contig from the bottom arm of chromosome 1, the sister chromatid positions of 13 individual BAC inserts were found to be aligned for ˜67-77% of homologues in 4C Arabidopsis thaliana nuclei. The differences between the 13 BAC positions were not significant at the P < 0.01 level. This suggests variability of alignment positions between cells and indicates the absence of cohesion “hot spots”. Similar as for single BACs, FISH with the entire contig indicated complete alignment for ˜69% and complete separation of sister chromatids for ˜31% of homologues in 4C nuclei. Partial alignment or separation was barely detectable. When three BAC inserts from a 760-kb region were tested simultaneously, alignment or separation of only the central BAC occurred in 3.3% and 3.5% of replicated chromosomes, respectively. Thus, we assume that sister chromatids can be separated or aligned within a Mb range in differentiated cells. However, the minimum extension of aligned sites or distances between them may (in rare cases) fall below ˜500 kb.

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