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Chromosome territories reposition during DNA damage-repair response

Ishita S Mehta, Mugdha Kulashreshtha, Sandeep Chakraborty, Ullas Kolthur-Seetharam and Basuthkar J Rao*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400005, India

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Genome Biology 2013, 14:R135  doi:10.1186/gb-2013-14-12-r135

Published: 13 December 2013



Local higher-order chromatin structure, dynamics and composition of the DNA are known to determine double-strand break frequencies and the efficiency of repair. However, how DNA damage response affects the spatial organization of chromosome territories is still unexplored.


Our report investigates the effect of DNA damage on the spatial organization of chromosome territories within interphase nuclei of human cells. We show that DNA damage induces a large-scale spatial repositioning of chromosome territories that are relatively gene dense. This response is dose dependent, and involves territories moving from the nuclear interior to the periphery and vice versa. Furthermore, we have found that chromosome territory repositioning is contingent upon double-strand break recognition and damage sensing. Importantly, our results suggest that this is a reversible process where, following repair, chromosome territories re-occupy positions similar to those in undamaged control cells.


Thus, our report for the first time highlights DNA damage-dependent spatial reorganization of whole chromosomes, which might be an integral aspect of cellular damage response.