Remodeling of nuclear architecture by the thiodioxoxpiperazine metabolite chaetocin

Experimental Cell Research, 2010, doi:10.1016/j.yexcr.2010.03.008, published on 10.06.2010
Experimental Cell Research, online article
Extensive changes of higher order chromatin arrangements can be observed during prometaphase, terminal cell differentiation and cellular senescence. Experimental systems where major reorganization of nuclear architecture can be induced under defined conditions, may help to better understand the functional implications of such changes. Here, we report on profound chromatin reorganization in fibroblast nuclei by chaetocin, a thiodioxopiperazine metabolite. Chaetocin induces strong condensation of chromosome territories separated by a wide interchromatin space largely void of DNA. Cell viability is maintained irrespective of this peculiar chromatin phenotype. Cell cycle markers, histone signatures, and tests for cellular senescence and for oxidative stress indicate that chaetocin induced chromatin condensation/clustering (CICC) represents a distinct entity among nuclear phenotypes associated with condensed chromatin. The territorial organization of entire chromosomes is maintained in CICC nuclei; however, the conventional nuclear architecture harboring gene-dense chromatin in the nuclear interior and gene-poor chromatin at the nuclear periphery is lost. Instead gene-dense and transcriptionally active chromatin is shifted to the periphery of individual condensed chromosome territories where nascent RNA becomes highly enriched around their outer surface. This chromatin reorganization makes CICC nuclei an attractive model system to study this border zone as a distinct compartment for transcription. Induction of CICC is fully inhibited by thiol-dependent antioxidants, but is not related to the production of reactive oxygen species. Our results suggest that chaetocin functionally impairs the thioredoxin (Trx) system, which is essential for deoxynucleotide synthesis, but in addition involved in a wide range of cellular functions. The mechanisms involved in CICC formation remain to be fully explored.

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