This study was initiated with the objective of separating and characterizing two or more nuclear subfractions, which could then be compared with respect to their relative propensity for binding carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Nuclei were isolated from cloned AKR-2B mouse embryo cells, which are susceptible to transformation by chemical carcinogens. The nuclei were mechanically sheared and subfractions were separated by sedimentation through a 0.17 to 1.7 m sucrose gradient. When the cells were treated with [3H]uridine for 30 min, most of the label incorporated into RNA was recovered in the top region of the gradients, which represented Nuclear Subfraction I. The majority of the chromatin DNA, however, was localized in the bottom region (Subfraction II) and the pellet (Subfraction III). Precipitation (with CaCl2) of the rapidly labeled RNA of Subfraction I along with the chromatin DNA suggested that the label was present in nascent RNA chains still attached to the chromatin. Thus, the transcriptionally active chromatin seemed to be localized in Nuclear Subfraction I.
The chromatin of Subfraction I was also the best template for RNA synthesis in vitro with exogenous bacterial polymerase. The protein and RNA content of Subfraction I was greater than that of the other two subfractions and whole chromatin. Electron microscopy revealed the presence of membrane material in Subfractions I and II, with little such material in Subfraction III. Subfraction I differed from Subfractions II and III and whole chromatin with respect to thermal denaturation of the DNA and histone composition (as determined by gel electrophoresis). The acidic protein composition (as determined by gel electrophoresis) differed for the chromatin of all three nuclear subfractions.
This report is the Paper 1 of 2 papers on the nuclear subfractions of AKR mouse embryo cells and the binding of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to them. This investigation was supported by Grants CA-16816 and CA-14920 awarded by the NIH, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and the Mayo Foundation.