Proximity within interphase chromosome contributes to the breakpoint distribution in radiation-induced intrachromosomal exchanges
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Previously, we reported that breaks involved in chromosome aberrations were clustered in several regions of chromosome 3 in human mammary epithelial cells after exposures to either low- or high-LET radiation. In particular, breaks in certain regions of the chromosome tended to rejoin with each other to form an intrachromosome exchange event. This study tests the hypothesis that proximity within a single chromosome in interphase cell nuclei contributes to the distribution of radiation-induced chromosome breaks. Chromosome 3 in G1 human mammary epithelial cells was hybridized with the multicolor banding in situ hybridization (mBAND) probes that distinguish the chromosome in six differently colored regions, and the location of these regions was measured with a laser confocal microscope. Results of the study indicated that, on a multi-mega base pair scale of the DNA, the arrangement of chromatin was non-random. Both telomere regions tended to be located towards the exterior of the chromosome domain, whereas the centromere region towards the interior. In addition, the interior of the chromosome domain was preferentially occupied by the p-arm of the chromatin, which is consistent with our previous finding of intrachromosome exchanges involving breaks on the p-arm and in the centromere region of chromosome 3. Other factors, such as the fragile sites in the 3p21 band and gene regulation, may also contribute to the breakpoint distribution in radiation-induced chromosome aberrations.