3D multicolor DNA fish tool to study nuclear architecture in human primary cells

Federica Marasca, Alice Cortesi, Lara Manganaro, Beatrice Bodega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A major question in cell biology is genomic organization within the nuclear space and how chromatin architecture can influence processes such as gene expression, cell identity and differentiation. Many approaches developed to study the 3D architecture of the genome can be divided into two complementary categories: chromosome conformation capture based technologies (C-technologies) and imaging. While the former is based on capturing the chromosome conformation and proximal DNA interactions in a population of fixed cells, the latter, based on DNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) on 3D-preserved nuclei, allows contemporary visualization of multiple loci at a single cell level (multicolor), examining their interactions and distribution within the nucleus (3D multicolor DNA FISH). The technique of 3D multicolor DNA FISH has a limitation of visualizing only a few predetermined loci, not permitting a comprehensive analysis of the nuclear architecture. However, given the robustness of its results, 3D multicolor DNA FISH in combination with 3D-microscopy and image reconstruction is a possible method to validate C-technology based results and to unambiguously study the position and organization of specific loci at a single cell level. Here, we propose a step by step method of 3D multicolor DNA FISH suitable for a wide range of human primary cells and discuss all the practical actions, crucial steps, notions of 3D imaging and data analysis needed to obtained a successful and informative 3D multicolor DNA FISH within different biological contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere60712
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number155
StatePublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D genome folding
  • 3D multicolor DNA FISH
  • DNA contacts
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • Human primary cells
  • Nuclear architecture
  • Nuclear positioning
  • Preserved interphase nuclei


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