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 resembling nuclei may be released by gently lysing human cells in solutions containing non-ionic detergents and high concentrations of salt. These structures, which we call nucleoids, sediment in sucrose gradients containing the intercalating agent, actinomycin D, in the manner characteristic of superhelical DNA. We have determined the concentration of actinomycin that minimises the rate of sedimentation of nucleoids. At this concentration, we have determined the amount of drug bound per base pair of DNA by means of a double-labelling procedure. Assuming that each molecule of actinomycin bound to nucleoid DNA unwinds the double helix by 26 degrees, we calculate that there is one supercoil every 90-180 base pairs in nucleoid DNA. These values lie within the range found for the circular DNA molecules of plasmids and viruses.


Journal article


Eur J Biochem

Publication Date





527 - 531


Binding Sites, Cell Nucleus, DNA, Neoplasm, Dactinomycin, HeLa Cells, Nucleic Acid Conformation