Using a specific monoclonal antibody (mAb AND-1/23-5-14) we have identified, cDNA-cloned and characterized a novel DNA-binding protein of the clawed toad, Xenopus laevis, that is accumulated in the nucleoplasm of oocytes and various other cells. This protein comprises 1,127 amino acids, with a total molecular mass of 125 kDa and a pI of 5.27. It is encoded by a mRNA of approximately 4 kb and contains, in addition to clusters of acidic amino acids, two hallmark motifs: the amino-terminal part harbours seven consecutive ‘WD-repeats’, which are sequence motifs of about 40 amino acids that are characteristic of a large group of regulatory proteins involved in diverse cellular functions, while the carboxy terminal portion possesses a 63-amino-acid-long ‘HMG-box’, which is typical of a family of DNA-binding proteins involved in regulation of chromatin assembly, transcription and replication. The DNA-binding capability of the protein was demonstrated by DNA affinity chromatography and electrophoretic mobility shift assays using four-way junction DNA. Protein AND-1 (acidic nucleoplasmic DNA-binding protein) appears as an oligomer, probably a homodimer, and has been localized throughout the entire interchromatinic space of the interphase nucleoplasm, whereas during mitosis it is transiently dispersed over the cytoplasm. We also identified a closely related, perhaps orthologous protein in mammals. The unique features of protein AND-1, which is a ‘natural chimera’ combining properties of the WD-repeat and the HMG-box families of proteins, are discussed in relation to its possible nuclear functions.
The arrangement of transcriptional units in the loops of lampbrush chromosomes from oocyte nuclei of urodele amphibia and from primary nuclei of the green alga Acetabularia have been studied in the electron microscope using spread preparations. Loops with different patterns of arrangement of matrix units (i.e. to a first approximation, transcriptional units) can be distinguished: (i) loops consisting of one active transcriptional unit; (ii) loops containing one active transcriptional unit plus additional fibril-free, i.e. apparently untranscribed, intercepts that may include ‘spacer’ regions; (iii) loops containing two or more transcriptional units arranged in identical or changing polarities, with or without interspersed apparent spacer regions. Morphological details of the transcriptional complexes are described. The observations are not compatible with the concept that one loop reflects one and only one transcriptional unit but, rather, lead to a classification of loop types according to the arrangement of their transcriptional units. We propose that the lampbrush chromosome loop can represent a unit for the coordinate transcription of either one gene or a set of several (different) genes.