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High-resolution imaging of nuclear architecture in C. elegans embryos
Prof. Thomas Cremer, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit├Ąt, Munich

The Chromosome Territory-Interchromatin Compartment (CT-IC) model of nuclear architecture has been put forward to explain the relationship between higher-orders of chromatin structure and genome activity [1]. The model postulates the existence of a DNA-free space between compact chromatin domains. This space contains nuclear bodies and splicing speckles and may contribute to the assembly of nanomachines. Chromatin domains are hypothetically composed of a more compact interior carrying transcriptionally silent chromatin and a more decondensed periphery, termed the perichromatin region. Nanomachines for transcription, splicing, DNA replication and repair are hypothesized to act in the perichromatin region. Despite recent breakthroughs [2], the link between this nuclear architecture and cell differentiation has yet to be studied. We are investigating how the interchromatin compartment changes during early development of C. elegans. This investigation is performed using super-resolution 3D structured illumination microscopy, a new technique which affords a 2-fold higher resolution in every dimension when compared to standard light microscopy [3].

[1] Cremer T, Kreth G, Koester H, Fink RH, Heintzmann R, Cremer M, Solovei I, Zink D, Cremer C (2000) Chromosome territories, interchromatin domain compartment, and nuclear matrix: an integrated view of the functional nuclear architecture, Crit. Rev. Eukaryot. Gene Expr., 10, 179-212 PubMed

[2] Rouquette J, Genoud C, Vazquez-Nin GH, Kraus B, Cremer T, Fakan S (2009) Revealing the high-resolution three-dimensional network of chromatin and interchromatin space: a novel electron-microscopic approach to reconstructing nuclear architecture, Chromosome Res., 17, 801-810 PubMed

[3] Schermelleh L, Heintzmann R, Leonhardt H (2010) A guide to super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, J. Cell Biol., 190, 165-175 PubMed