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Chromatin Deacetylation Analysis Points to Potential Protective Effects During Mitosis

A team from Vienna BioCenter, the University of Vienna, and other centers characterize the material properties of chromosomes, identifying protective features found during the chromatin phase transition of mitotic cell division. As they report in a new study in Nature, the researchers relied on molecular tagging, genotyping, cell sorting, fluorescence imaging, and small interfering RNA experiments to track the consequences of mitotic chromatin deacetylation in dividing human cells, demonstrating that deacetylation spares mitotic chromosomes from being speared by mitotic microtubules. "Deacetylation-mediated compaction of chromatin forms a structure dense in negative charge and allows mitotic chromosomes to resist perforation by microtubules as they are pushed to the metaphase plate," they report. "By contrast, hyperacetylated mitotic chromosomes lack a defined surface boundary, are frequently perforated by microtubules, and are prone to missegregation."