Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Distribution of constitutive heterochromatin in Hela and HEp-2 cell lines

  • 48 Accesses


Despite the fact that HeLa and HEp-2 cell lines have been established respectively from a female and a male patient, the frequent loss of the Y chromosome makes it difficult to discriminate the two cell types. The technique of centromeric localization of heterochromatin, however, facilitates more definite identification of the two cell types. Giemsa positive centromeric constitutive heterochromatin blocks were induced within the intact metaphase chromosome preparations of Hela and HEp-2 cells. The Hela cell population had a single heterochromatin marker chromosome, whereas the HEp-2 cell line was found to possess two types of heterochromatin markers. The distinctive patterns of distribution of constitutive heterochromatin of these three chromosomes served as the guides in tracing the presumptive cytological pathways for their orgin.


Trotz der Tatsache, daß Hela- und HEp-2-Zellinien jeweils von einem weiblichen und einem männlichen Patienten stammen, erschwert der häufige Verlust des Y-Chromosoms eine Unterscheidung der beiden Zelltypen. Der Nachweis des zentromernahen Heterochromatins jedoch ermöglicht eine zuverlässigere Erkennung dieser beiden Zelltypen. Die Hela-Zellpopulation hat ein einzelnes, durch das Heterochromation gekennzeichnetes Marker-Chromosom, während die HEp-2-Zellinie deren 2 besitzt. Das distinkte Verteilungsmuster des konstitutiven Heterochromatons dieser 3 Chromosomen dient dazu, die vermutliche cytologische Herkunft zu interpretieren.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Arrighi, F. E., Hsu, T. C.: Localization of heterochromatin in human chromosomes. Cytogenetics 10, 81–86 (1971).

  2. Beckman, G., Beckman, L., Ponten, J., Westermark, B.: G-6-PD and PGM phenotypes of 16 continuous human tumor cell lines. Hum. Hered. 21, 238–241 (1971).

  3. Chen, T. R., Ruddle, F. H.: Karyoype analysis utilizing differentiatially stained constitutive heterochromatin of human and murine chromosomes. Chromosoma (Berl.) 34, 51–72 (1971).

  4. Comings, D., Okada, P. A.: Whole-mount electron microscopy of the centromere region of metacentric and telocentric mammalian chromosomes. Cytogenetics 9, 436–449 (1971).

  5. Drets, M. E., Shaw, M. M.: Specific banding patterns of human chromosomes. Proc. nat. Acad. Sci. (Wash.). 68, 2073–2077 (1971).

  6. Egozcue, J.: A possible case of centric fission in a Primate. Experientia (Basel). 27, 969–970 (1971).

  7. Fredga, K., Bergström, U.: Chromosome polymorphism in the root vole (Microtus oeconomus). Hereditas (Lund) 66, 145–152 (1970).

  8. Gartler, S. M.: Genetic markers as tracers in cell culture. Nat. Cancer Inst. Monogr. 26, 167–195 (1967).

  9. Hewitt, G. M., John, B.: The cytogenetic systems of grasshoppers and locusts I. Chortoicetes terminifera. Chromosoma (Berl.) 34, 302–323 (1971).

  10. John, B., Hewitt, G. M.: Patterns and pathways of chromosome evolution within the Orthoptera. Chromosoma (Berl.) 25, 40–74 (1968).

  11. Jones, K. W.: Chromosomal and nuclear location of mouse satellite DNA in individual cells. Nature (Lond.) 225, 912–915 (1970).

  12. Luykx, P.: Cellular mechanisms of chromosome distribution. Int. Rev. Cytol., Suppl. 2 (1970).

  13. Miller, O. J., Miller, D. A., Allderdice, P. W., Dev, V. G., Grewal, M. S.: Quinacrine fluorescent karyotypes of human diploid and heteroploid cell lines. Cytogenetics 10, 338–346 (1971).

  14. Pardue, M. L., Gall, J. G.: Chromosomal localization of mouse satellite DNA. Science 168, 1356–1358 (1970).

  15. Pathak, S., Sinha, A. K.: Constitutive heterochromatin patterns of G-group chromosomes in Down's syndrome. Humangenetik 14, 327–329 (1972a).

  16. Pathak, S., Sinha, A. K.: An alternative model for ring chromosome perpetuation in a human subject. Ann. hum. Genet. 35, 471–476 (1972b).

  17. Schnedl, M.: Banding patterns of human chromosomes. Nature (Lond.) New Biol. 233, 93–94 (1971).

  18. Southern, D. I.: Stable telocentric chromosomes produced following centric misdivision in Myrmeleotettix maculatus (Thunb.). Chromosoma (Berl.) 26, 140–147 (1969).

  19. Yunis, J. J., Roldan, L., Yasmineh, W. G., Lee, J. C.: Staining of satellite DNA in metaphase chromosomes. Nature (Lond.) 231, 532–533 (1971).

Download references

Author information

Additional information

Supported in part by the Robert A. Welch Foundation, The National Foundation —March of Dimes and USPHS Grant No. FR-05425.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sinha, A.K., Pathak, S. Distribution of constitutive heterochromatin in Hela and HEp-2 cell lines. Hum Genet 18, 47–54 (1973).

Download citation


  • Cell Population
  • Hela Cell
  • Male Patient
  • Distinctive Pattern
  • Metaphase Chromosome