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International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Chromatin Organization after High-LET Irradiation Revealed by Super-Resolution STED Microscopy
Benjamin Schwarz, Nicole Matejka, Sarah Rudigkeit, Matthias Sammer, Judith Reindl
chromatin organization; DNA repair; super-resolution microscopy; interchromatin; perichromatin
Ion-radiation-induced DNA double-strand breaks can lead to severe cellular damage ranging from mutations up to direct cell death. The interplay between the chromatin surrounding the damage and the proteins responsible for damage recognition and repair determines the efficiency and outcome of DNA repair. The chromatin is organized in three major functional compartments throughout the interphase: the chromatin territories, the interchromatin compartment, and the perichromatin lying in between. In this study, we perform correlation analysis using super-resolution STED images of chromatin; splicing factor SC35, as an interchromatin marker; and the DNA repair factors 53BP1, Rad51, and γH2AX in carbon-ion-irradiated human HeLa cells. Chromatin and interchromatin overlap only in protruding chromatin branches, which is the same for the correlation between chromatin and 53BP1. In contrast, between interchromatin and 53BP1, a gap of (270 ± 40) nm is visible. Rad51 shows overlap with decondensed euchromatic regions located at the borders of condensed heterochromatin with further correlation with γH2AX. We conclude that the DNA damage is repaired in decondensed DNA loops in the perichromatin, located in the periphery of the DNA-dense chromatin compartments containing the heterochromatin. Proteins like γH2AX and 53BP1 serve as supporters of the chromatin structure.