The chemical composition of nuclei and chromosomes isolated by the Langmuir trough technique

Barry R. Zirkin, Stephen L. Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The pattern of staining for DNA, histone, and nonhistone protein has been studied in whole cells and in nuclei and chromosomes isolated by surface spreading. In whole interphase cells from bovine kidney tissue culture, nuclear staining for DNA and histones reveals numerous small, intensely stained clumps, surrounded by more diffusely stained material. Nuclei in whole cells stained for nonhistone proteins also contain intensely stained regions surrounded by diffuse stain. These intensely stained regions also stain for RNA, indicating that the regions contain nucleolar material. Electron microscopy of kidney cells confirms that multiple nucleoli are present. Kidney nuclei isolated by surface spreading show an even distribution of stain for DNA, histones, and nonhistone proteins, indicating that the surface forces disperse both condensed chromatin and nucleoli. DNA and protein staining was also studied in metaphase chromosomes from testes of the milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus. Staining for DNA and histones in metaphase chromosomes is essentially the same in sections of fixed and embedded testes as in preparations isolated by surface spreading. However, striking differences are noted in the distribution of nonhistone proteins. In sections, nonhistone stain is concentrated in extrachromosomal areas; metaphase chromosomes do not stain for nonhistone proteins. Chromosomes isolated by surface spreading, however, stain intensely for nonhistone proteins. This suggests that nonhistone proteins are bound to the chromosomes as a contaminant during the isolation procedure. The relationship of these findings to current work with chromosomes isolated for electron microscopy is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1971
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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