We developed an aqueous spreading procedure that permits simultaneous analysis of human chromosomes by Q-banding and indirect immunofluorescence. Using this methodology and anticentromere antibodies from an autoimmune patient we compared the active and inactive centromeres of an isodicentric X chromosome. We show that a family of structurally related human centromere proteins (CENP-A, CENP-B, and CENP-C) is detectable only at the active centromere. These antigens therefore may be regarded both as morphological and functional markers for active centromeres.
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