Chromosome specificity of satellite DNAs: short- and long-range organization of a diverged dimeric subset of human alpha satellite from chromosome 3
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The human alpha satellite DNA family, like many highly repeated satellite DNAs in eukaryotic genomes, is organized in distinct chromosome-specific subsets. As part of investigations into the molecular and evolutionary basis for the chromosome-specific nature of such subsets, we report the isolation and characterization of alpha satellite sequences specific for human chromosome 3. This subset is characterized by a predominant tandemly arranged approximately 2.9 kb higher-order repeat unit which, in turn, consists of 17 tandem diverged monomer repeat units of approximately 171 bp. Nucleotide sequence analysis reveals that the chromosome 3 higher-order repeat units are comprised, at least in part, of diverged dimeric (approximately 340 bp) sub-repeats and that this divergence accounts for the chromosome-specific behavior of this subset. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis demonstrates that the chromosome 3 higher-order repeat units are localized in large domains, at least 1000 kb in length. Familial restriction fragment length polymorphisms associated with the satellite subset can be detected by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and may facilitate molecular analysis of interchromosomal variation.
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