Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Structures retaining many of the morphological features of nuclei may be released by lysing human cells in a non-ionic detergent and 2 M NaCl. Such nucleoids contain all the nuclear DNA packaged within a flexible cage of RNA and protein. HeLa nucleoids have been spread at an air-water interface and viewed in the electron microscope. A tangled network of superhelical fibres surrounds the collapsed cage. Irradiation with gamma-rays abolishes supercoiling and treatment with the untwisting enzyme or a low concentration of ethidium reduces it. A high concentration of ethidium induces supertwisting. The nuclear DNA of higher cells can be isolated naked, supercoiled and intact.


Journal article


J Cell Sci

Publication Date





53 - 62


Cell Nucleus, DNA Topoisomerases, Type I, DNA, Superhelical, Ethidium, Gamma Rays, HeLa Cells, Humans, Microscopy, Electron, Nucleic Acid Conformation