In the interphase nucleus the DNA of higher eukaryotes is organised in loops anchored to a proteinaceous substructure variously named but commonly known as the nuclear matrix. Important processes of nuclear physiology, such as replication, transcription and processing of primary transcripts, occur at macromolecular complexes located at discrete sites upon the nuclear substructure. The topological relationships between gene sequences located in the DNA loops and the nuclear substructure appear to be non-random, thus posing the question of whether such relationships remain invariant or change after the critical nuclear transitions associated with cell proliferation and tissue regeneration in vivo. The hepatocytes are cells that preserve a proliferating capacity that is readily displayed after partial ablation of the liver, leading to liver regeneration in experimental animals such as the rat. Using this animal model coupled to a recently developed PCR-based method for mapping the position of specific DNA sequences relative to the nuclear substructure, we provide evidence that transient changes in the topological relationships between specific genes and the nuclear substructure occur during liver regeneration and that such changes correlate with the actual proliferating status of the cells, thus suggesting that specific transitions in the higher-order DNA structure are characteristic of the quiescent (G0) and replicating (S) phases of the cell cycle in vivo.
Última actualización: 16/03/2018