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Exp Cell Res. 1984 Jan;150(1):213-25.

Chromatin structure and nucleic acid synthesis in human lymphocyte activation by phytohemagglutinin.


Alterations in chromatin structure were explored as a function of time following phytohemagglutinin (PHA) activation of human lymphocytes. Nuclear refringency (related to chromatin status), ultrastructural changes, and modifications of nucleic acid synthesis were compared. Chromatin dispersion was observed within 20 min of stimulation, with a concomitant increase in [3H]uridine incorporation; both were inhibited by actinomycin D. Recondensation of chromatin had occurred at 60 min when RNA synthesis was still increasing. The early chromatin dispersion thus was a reversible step and one of the most striking cellular events during the first phase of PHA activation. Late chromatin dispersion of blastic cells during the second phase of PHA response (after 24 h) was related to DNA synthesis in mitotic cells. This step was also inhibited by actinomycin D. These results suggest a relationship between the morphological changes in chromatin structure and the induction of RNA and DNA syntheses. The regulation of transcriptional and replicational states of the nucleus is discussed in terms of modifications of chromatin structure, considering PHA-induced calcium and cyclic nucleotide metabolism and interleukin II receptor expression.

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