Nuclei purified from C57BL mouse submandibular salivary gland were treated with a range of micrococcal nuclease concentrations and times of treatment (from 0.5 unit for 2.5 min to 50 units for 30 min) in the presence of polyamines. About 50% of the chromatin was solubilized initially but with prolonged digestion this chromatin became insoluble again. Electron microscopy showed destruction of the finely dispersed chromatin with mild digestion, followed by aggregation of chromatin with more vigorous digestion. The early disappearance of finely dispersed chromatin filaments was not accompanied by preferential solubilization of chromatin associated with RNA polymerase II (euchromatin). These data suggest that the polyamines markedly reduce the susceptibility of euchromatin to micrococcal nuclease digestion.

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