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PTF (PSE-binding transcription factor) activates transcription of snRNA and related genes. We investigated its distribution in HeLa nuclei by immunofluorescence, and found it spread throughout the nucleoplasm in small foci. In some cells, PTF is also concentrated in one, or very few, discrete regions (diameter approximately 1.3 micron) that appear during G1 phase and disappear in S phase. Oct1, a transcription factor that interacts with PTF, is also enriched in these domains; RNA polymerase II, TBP and Sp1 are also present. Each domain typically contains 2 or 3 transcription 'factories' where Br-UTP is incorporated into nascent transcripts. Accordingly, we have christened this region the Oct1/PTF/transcription (OPT) domain. It colocalizes with some, but not all, PIKA domains. It is distinct from other nuclear domains, including coiled bodies, gemini bodies, PML bodies and the perinucleolar compartment. A small region on chromosome 6 (band 6p21) containing only approximately 30 Mbp DNA, and chromosomes 6 and 7, associate with the domain significantly more than other chromosomes. The domains may act like nucleoli to bring particular genes on specific chromosomes together to a region where the appropriate transcription and processing factors are concentrated, thereby facilitating the expression of those genes.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1768 - 1778


Amanitins, Antigens, Nuclear, Cell Cycle, Cell Nucleus, Chromosomes, Human, DNA-Binding Proteins, Dichlororibofuranosylbenzimidazole, HeLa Cells, Homeodomain Proteins, Host Cell Factor C1, Humans, Nuclear Proteins, Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors, Octamer Transcription Factor-1, RNA Polymerase II, Transcription Factors, Transcription, Genetic