The influence of chromosome density variations on the increase in nuclear disorder strength in carcinogenesis

Jun Soo Kim, Prabhakar Pradhan, Vadim Backman*, Igal Szleifer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Microscopic structural changes have long been observed in cancer cells and used as a marker in cancer diagnosis. Recent development of an optical technique, partial-wave spectroscopy (PWS), enabled more sensitive detection of nanoscale structural changes in early carcinogenesis in terms of the disorder strength related to density variations. These nanoscale alterations precede the well-known microscopic morphological changes. We investigate the influence of nuclear density variations due to chromosome condensation on changes of disorder strength by computer simulations of model chromosomes. Nuclear configurations with different degrees of chromosome condensation are realized from simulations of decondensing chromosomes and the disorder strength is calculated for these nuclear configurations. We found that the disorder strength increases significantly for configurations with slightly more condensed chromosomes. Coupled with PWS measurements, the simulation results suggest that the chromosome condensation and the resulting spatial density inhomogeneity may represent one of the earliest events in carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number015004
JournalPhysical Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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