Journal Article

Generation of an ∼2.4 Mb Human X Centromere-Based Minichromosome by Targeted Telomere-Associated Chromosome Fragmentation in DT40

Walter Mills, Ricky Critcher, Charles Lee and Christine J. Farr

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 8, issue 5, pages 751-761
Published in print May 1999 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online May 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
Generation of an ∼2.4 Mb Human X Centromere-Based Minichromosome by Targeted Telomere-Associated Chromosome Fragmentation in DT40

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A linear mammalian artificial chromosome (MAC) will require at least three types of functional element: a centromere, two telomeres and origins of replication. As yet, our understanding of these elements, as well as many other aspects of structure and organization which may be critical for a fully functional mammalian chromosome, remains poor. As a way of defining these various requirements, minichromosome reagents are being developed and analysed. Approaches for minichromosome generation fall into two broad categories: de novo assembly from candidate DNA sequences, or the fragmentation of an existing chromosome to reduce it to a minimal size. Here we describe the generation of a human minichromosome using the latter, top-down, approach. A human X chromosome, present in a DT40-human microcell hybrid, has been manipulated using homologous recombination and the targeted seeding of a de novo telomere. This strategy has generated a linear ∼2.4 Mb human X centromere-based minichromosome capped by two artificially seeded telomeres: one immediately flanking the centromeric α-satellite DNA and the other targeted to the zinc finger gene ZXDA in Xp11.21. The chromosome retains an α-satellite domain of ∼1.8 Mb, a small array of γ-satellite repeat (∼40 kb) and ∼400 kb of Xp proximal DNA sequence. The mitotic stability of this minichromosome has been examined, both in DT40 and following transfer into hamster and human cell lines. In all three backgrounds, the minichromosome is retained efficiently, but in the human and hamster microcell hybrids its copy number is poorly regulated. This approach of engineering well-defined chromosome reagents will allow key questions in MAC development (such as whether a lower size limit exists) to be addressed. In addition, the 2.4 Mb minichromosome described here has potential to be developed as a vector for gene delivery.

Journal Article.  8359 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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