Dynamics of chromosome compaction during mitosis

Abhijit Sarkar*, Sertac Eroglu, Michael G. Poirier, Prateek Gupta, Ajay Nemani, John F. Marko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We have quantitatively studied the space-time dynamics of mitotic chromosome compaction in cultured amphibian cells. After collecting digital phase-contrast images we have done digital image analysis to study spatial correlations in density. We find a characteristic distance at which the strongest correlations occur, which provides a quantitative measure of the size of patches of dense chromatin during interphase and early prophase. Later in mitosis, this length corresponds to the thickness of prophase and metaphase chromosomes. We find that during interphase strong correlations exist at a few-micrometer length; during prophase this correlation length progressively drops as the chromosomes are compacted. Our data are explained by a model based on assembly of chromatin loops onto already fiberlike interphase chromosomes. To test this model we have microinjected cobalt hexamine trichloride into interphase nuclei and have observed the rapid condensation of the interphase chromatin into thick fibers with a spacing similar to the native-state interphase correlation length determined from our image analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Chromosome condensation
  • Chromosome structure
  • Mitosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamics of chromosome compaction during mitosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this