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DNA degradation in terminally differentiating lens fiber cells from chick embryos

, : DNA degradation in terminally differentiating lens fiber cells from chick embryos. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 74(12): 5579-5583

During the terminal differentiation of lens fiber cells, nuclear DNA is known to accumulate free 3'-OH ends and is progressively lost from the nucleus. Toward the end of this process, nuclei undergo pycnosis and disappear. The size of the DNA in the epithelia and in early and late stages of fiber cell development was examined by electrophoresis on nondenaturing agarose/polyacrylamide gels. Low molecular weight DNA of discrete sizes appears only at the final stages of nuclear degeneration in central fiber cells and persists after the disappearance of the nuclei. These low molecular weight DNA fragments appear as multiples of a monomeric unit and are similar to the fragments produced by the digestion of epithelial cell nuclei by micrococcal nuclease. The data indicate that in lens fiber nuclei the double-strand breaks in vivo affect the chromatin during nuclear degeneration, and the data suggest that the DNA of these cells is organized into chromatin composed of discrete subunits.


PMID: 271985

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