The staining of constitutive heterochromatin, and A-T and G-C rich DNA in lymphocytes and primary spermatocytes of the Chinese hamster

Research paper by J. L. Oud, R. Scholten

Indexed on: 01 Feb '82Published on: 01 Feb '82Published in: Genetica


The staining of male Chinese hamster chromosomes at meiotic prophase with several banding techniques is described. C-banding results only occasionally in well-differentiated pachytene and diakinesis bivalents. Meiotic C-bands are small compared with those in somatic metaphase chromosomes. In mice C-bands mainly consist of highly repetitive satellite DNA, whereas in Chinese hamsters the majority of the DNA in C-bands is not or hardly repetitive. Especially in Chinese hamsters both the degree of chromatin despiralisation and the folding pattern of the chromatin drastically reduce the distinction of C-bands in late meiotic prophasc chromosomes. In contrast to the situation in mice, C-heterochromatin associations are never observed in Chinese hamster spermatocytes. It is assumed that the presence of satellite DNA rather than constitutive heterochromatin is the basis for the associations of the paracentromeric chromosome regions in mice. The location and behaviour of AT- and GC-rich DNA in Chinese hamster primary spermatocytes is studied with base-specific fluorochromes (H 33258 and Chromomycin A3 for AT-and GC-rich DNA respectively), in combination with a pretreatment with base-specific non-fluorescent antibiotics (Actinomycin D and Netropsin for GC-and AT-rich DNA respectively). No indications are found for the clustering of AT-or GC-rich DNA in Chinese hamster pachytene nuclei. A comparison of banding patterns observed in somatic metaphases and in diakinesis gives some information about the partial homology of the X and Y chromosome. The results are conflicting. The short arm of the Y chromosome is homologous with a part of the X chromosome. According to the C-band pattern the long arm of the X chromosome is involved in the pairing with Y, whereas fluorescence banding patterns indicate that it is the short arm of X.