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Mol Cell Biol. 1993 Jan;13(1):163-73.

An abundant high-mobility-group-like protein is targeted to micronuclei in a cell cycle-dependent and developmentally regulated fashion in Tetrahymena thermophila.

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Department of Biology, Syracuse University, New York 13244-1220.


In this report, we have demonstrated for the first time that an abundant high-mobility-group (HMG)-like protein, HMG B, previously thought to be specific to macronuclei in Tetrahymena thermophila, is also present in micronuclei. Biochemical data document the fact that HMG B is extremely labile in micronuclei. Unless extreme precautions are taken during the isolation of nuclei (addition of 1% formaldehyde to the nucleus isolation buffer), HMG B is not detected in micronuclei. Using polyclonal antibodies highly selective for HMG B, immunoblotting and immunofluorescence analyses show that the presence of HMG B in micronuclei is dynamic, correlating well with known periods of micronuclear DNA replication. This is the case not only during the vegetative cell cycle but also during early stages of the sexual cycle, conjugation, when the presence of HMG B in micronuclei is also closely correlated with meiotic DNA recombination and repair. Since micronuclei are transcriptionally inactive during vegetative growth, our data lend support to the idea that HMG B does not function exclusively in the establishment of transcriptionally competent chromatin. However, micronuclei are transcriptionally active during early stages of conjugation. Evidence that HMG B is strongly synthesized and deposited into micronuclei during this stage is presented. Therefore, it is tempting to suggest that HMG B may play an important role in remodeling micronuclear chromatin into an "active," more open configuration. We favor a model wherein HMG B, like other abundant, low-specificity HMG box-containing proteins, functions to wrap DNA, presumably modulating higher-order chromatin structure for a broad range of biological processes, including transcription and replication.

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