* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received September 27, 2014; Revision received October 21, 2014
Chromatin in rat liver nuclei under conditions of low ionic strength (20-25 mM) and [Mg2+] from 2 to 5 mM has a condensed structure (100-200 nm globules) and gives the same CD signal (320-340 nm) at interaction with the antibiotic distamycin A (DM). Reducing [Mg2+] to 1 mM leads to chromatin decondensation to 30 nm structures and increases the CD signal. Poly-L-glutamic acid (PG) at weight ratio PG/DNA = 6 and in the presence of 5 mM Mg2+ extracts only about 1/8 of nuclear histone H1, preserving a condensed chromatin structure. Removal of about 1/4 of H1 at 3 mM Mg2+ leads to chromatin decondensation to 30 nm fibrils. Extraction of about half of histone H1 at [Mg2+] ≤ 2 mM results in chromatin refolding to nucleosome fibrils. PG-decondensation leads to a significant increase in the CD signal. The main H1 extraction occurs in 1-2 min, but at all Mg2+ concentrations the more slowly PG extracted fraction is found comprising 5-7% of nuclear H1. About 25% of leaving nuclear H1 can be extracted by PG in the presence of saturating DM concentration (molar DM/DNA = 0.1). H1 release depends significantly on the PG concentration. However, even at high weight ratio PG/DNA = 30 and DM/DNA = 0.1, about 5-10% of histone H1 remained in the nuclei. Decondensation of chromatin in the nucleus is not always proportional to the yield of extracted histone H1 and is weakened in the presence of positively charged DM or high concentrations of PG. Our results show that the interaction of DM with chromatin depends primarily on chromatin packaging, while PG extraction depends on [Mg2+] supporting this packaging.
KEY WORDS: cell nuclei, chromatin, levels of structural organization, distamycin, polyglutamic acid, histone H1, CD spectra