Chromatin fine structure of the c-MYC insulator element/DNase I-hypersensitive site I is not preserved during mitosis

Jun Ichiro Komura, Hironobu Ikehata, Tetsuya Ono

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20 Citations (Scopus)


During mitosis in higher eukaryotic cells, transcription is silenced and transcription complexes are absent from promoters in the condensed chromosomes; however, epigenetic information concerning the pattern of expressed and silent genes must be preserved. Recently, it has been reported that CTCF, a major protein in vertebrate insulator elements, remains associated with mitotic chromatin. If the structure of insulators is preserved during mitosis, then it is possible that insulators can function as components or elements of the mechanism involved in the transfer of epigenetic information through the mitotic phase and can help guide the reconstitution of domain structure and nuclear organization after the completion of this phase. We have studied the chromatin structure of the insulator upstream of the c-MYC gene in mitotic HeLa cells. The region of the insulator corresponds to the DNase I hypersensitive site I, but Southern blot analysis revealed that hypersensitivity was lost during mitosis. High resolution in vivo footprinting analysis using dimethyl sulfate, UV light, psoralen, and DNase I also demonstrated the disappearance of the sequence-specific direct binding of CTCF and the absence of detectable structures during mitosis. Thus, it appears that the nucleoprotein complex involving this insulator element must be reassembled de novo with each new cell generation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15741-15746
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Oct 2


  • Epigenetics
  • In vivo footprinting


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