1. Quantitative cytophotometric analysis of the interphase cells of a rapidly proliferating differentiated tissue such as liver of new born rat, indicates that these cells can be separated into two groups on the basis of their staining characteristics after methanol fixation.
2. These groups are thought to correspond to two stages of interphase. The first, called "autosynthetic interphase," comprises cells which are duplicating chromosomal material in preparation for mitosis, and shows parallel increases in the methyl green and Feulgen staining of DNA and the fast green staining of histone from the diploid (2 C) to double these values (4 C).
3. The second group is designated the "heterosynthetic interphase," during which the cell ceases proliferating and functions in a manner commensurate with its state of differentiation. In this stage Feulgen staining indicates the diploid chromosomal complement, but there is a decreased capacity of the DNA to bind methyl green and of the histone to bind fast green.
4. The difference between the methyl green binding of the heterosynthetic and autosynthetic 2 C cells is due to the presence of a protein in the former which presumably inhibits staining by competing with the dye for binding sites on the DNA. The effect of this inhibition can be removed by extracting the protein, or by blocking the protein basic groups.
5. The decreased fast green staining of histone in the heterosynthetic cells can be minimized by prolonged fixation with formaldehyde. It is thought to stem either from a similar type of inhibition, or from an increased susceptibility of the histone to loss from the cell during this stage.
6. While histone inhibits methyl green staining of DNA in all cells, the differences between the staining properties of the autosynthetic and heterosynthetic interphase cells are believed to be due to another protein, whose properties appear similar to those of the chromosomal "residual protein." It is concluded that a complex of DNA and residual protein existing during the heterosynthetic interphase is dissociated during the autosynthetic interphase.