Micromechanics of human mitotic chromosomes

Mingxuan Sun, Ryo Kawamura, John F. Marko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Eukaryote cells dramatically reorganize their long chromosomal DNAs to facilitate their physical segregation during mitosis. The internal organization of folded mitotic chromosomes remains a basic mystery of cell biology; its understanding would likely shed light on how chromosomes are separated from one another as well as into chromosome structure between cell divisions. We report biophysical experiments on single mitotic chromosomes from human cells, where we combine micromanipulation, nano-Newton-scale force measurement and biochemical treatments to study chromosome connectivity and topology. Results are in accord with previous experiments on amphibian chromosomes and support the 'chromatin network' model of mitotic chromosome structure. Prospects for studies of chromosome-organizing proteins using siRNA expression knockdowns, as well as for differential studies of chromosomes with and without mutations associated with genetic diseases, are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number015003
JournalPhysical Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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