Affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies were used to quantitate steady-state levels of DNA topoisomerase II (topo II) throughout Drosophila development. Although wide fluctuations were recorded at different stages, these fluctuations were paralleled by changes in levels of the nuclear lamin, a nuclear structural protein used as an internal standard. The exception to this was adult males where lamin levels were significantly elevated relative to topo II. Northern blot analyses of topo II and lamin mRNA, performed in conjunction with immunoblot analyses of protein revealed fluctuations in levels of the two different messages that paralleled changes in each other and in their respective translation products. Biochemical and immunochemical analyses were complemented by indirect immunofluorescence and immunoperoxidase experiments performed in situ. topo II was found distributed throughout nuclei in most but not all cell types examined. These results for Drosophila topo II are apparently at odds with those obtained by others working in vertebrate systems (see, for example, Heck, M. M. S. and W. C. Earnshaw. 1986. J. Cell Biol. 103:2569-2581; Heck, M. M. S., W. N. Hittelman, and W. C. Earnshaw. 1988. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 85:1086-1090) and suggest that in Drosophila, topo II may not be a useful marker for the proliferative state.

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