Chonnam Med J.  2005 Dec;41(3):253-258.

Relationship between Chromatin Pattern of Tumor Cell Nuclei and Transcriptional Sites

  • 1Department of Pathology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Chonnam National University Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Gwangju, Korea.


Malignant cell nuclei, in general, have increased amount of heterochromatin and decreased electron density of euchromatin, making the chromatin pattern coarser than that of benign cell nuclei. Chromatin pattern in benign as well as in malignant cells, however, is not clearly explained in terms of molecular biology. In this study, chromatin pattern of metaplastic and carcinomatous squamous cells of the uterine cervix, identified ultrastructurally, was compared with transcriptional activity. Chromatin pattern was assessed by staining of DNA with propidium iodide, and transcriptional activity by indirect immunofluorescence staining of RNA polymerase II and observed by laser scanning confocal microscopy. Ultrastructurally, heterochromatin was located along the nuclear membrane and also scattered within the euchromatin. Signals positive for RNA polymerase II were noted more or less diffuse in metaplastic squamous cells. In carcinomatous squamous cells, in contrast, the signals were noted in many cells and appeared curvilinear or dot-shaped, mainly at the boundary between the area densely stained and the area weakly stained with propidium iodide. These findings indicate that RNA polymerase II is mainly located focally and at the boundary between the heterochromatin and the euchromatin of the carcinomatous squamous cells of the uterine cervix.


Chromatin pattern; Euchromatin; Heterochromatin; Transcriptional activity; RNA polymerase II
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