Olsson I, Bjerling P
Curr. Genet. 57 (1) 1-12 [2011-02-00; online 2010-11-27]
Significant progress has been made in understanding the functional organisation of the cell nucleus. Still many questions remain to be answered about the relationship between the spatial organisation of the nucleus and the regulation of the genome function. There are many conflicting data in the field making it very difficult to merge published results on mammalian cells into one model on subnuclear chromatin organisation. The fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, over the last decades has emerged as a valuable model organism in understanding basic biological mechanisms, especially the cell cycle and chromosome biology. In this review we describe and compare the nuclear organisation in mammalian and fission yeast cells. We believe that fission yeast is a good tool to resolve at least some of the contradictions and unanswered questions concerning functional nuclear architecture, since S. pombe has chromosomes structurally similar to that of human. S. pombe also has the advantage over higher eukaryotes in that the genome can easily be manipulated via homologous recombination making it possible to integrate the tools needed for visualisation of chromosomes using live-cell microscopy. Classical genetic experiments can be used to elucidate what factors are involved in a certain mechanism. The knowledge we have gained during the last few years indicates similarities between the genome organisation in fission yeast and mammalian cells. We therefore propose the use of fission yeast for further advancement of our understanding of functional nuclear organisation.