Time-resolved biophysical approaches to nucleocytoplasmic transport
- Francesco Cardarelli
- Computational and structural biotechnology…
We present a quantitative fluctuation-based assay to measure the degree of local chromatin compaction and investigate how chromatin density regulates the diffusive path adopted by an inert protein in dividing cells. The assay uses CHO-K1 cells coexpressing untagged enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) and histone H2B tagged mCherry. We measure at the single-cell level the EGFP localization and molecular flow patterns characteristic of each stage of chromatin compaction from mitosis through interphase by means of pair-correlation analysis. We find that the naturally occurring changes in chromatin organization impart a regulation on the spatial distribution and temporal dynamics of EGFP within the nucleus. Combined with the analysis of Ca(2+) intracellular homeostasis during cell division, EGFP flow regulation can be interpreted as the result of controlled changes in chromatin compaction. For the first time, to our knowledge, we were able to probe chromatin compaction on the micrometer scale, where the regulation of molecular diffusion may become relevant for many cellular processes.