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Illuminating chromatin compaction in live cells and fixed tissues using SiR-DNA fluorescence lifetime

By Colin Hockings, Chetan Poudel, Kevin A Feeney, Clara Lopes Novo, Mehdi S Hamouda, Ioanna Mela, David Fernandez-Antoran, Pedro P. Vallejo-Ramirez, Peter J. Rugg-Gunn, Kevin Chalut, Clemens F. Kaminski, Gabriele S. Kaminski Schierle

Posted 02 May 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.02.073536

The global compaction state of chromatin in a nucleus is an important component of cell identity that has been difficult to measure. We have developed a quantitative method to measure chromatin compaction in both live and fixed cells, without the need for genetic modification, using the fluorescence lifetime of SiR-DNA dye. After optimising this method using live cancer cell lines treated to induce chromatin compaction or decompaction, we observed chromatin compaction in differentiating epithelial cells in fixed tissue sections, as well as local decompaction foci that may represent transcription factories. In addition, we shed new light on chromatin decompaction during embryonic stem cell transition out of their naive pluripotent state. This method will be useful to studies of nuclear architecture, and may be easy, cheap, and accessible enough to serve as a general assay of stem-ness. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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