Employing cytochemical methods it was found that during the early embryonic development of Drosophila melanogaster the nuclei contain in sequence two kinds of chromosomal proteins. The cleavage nuclei (as also the pronuclei), until shortly before the blastoderm stage, contain an atypical (or juvenile) histone, stainable with bromophenol blue but not with alkaline fast green. The typical fast green-positive histone appears at the close of the period of the synchronized cleavage mitoses, just before blastulation, when nucleoli are first produced. The amount of DNA of the cleavage nuclei, as determined cytophotometrically, is nearly constant; therefore, the DNA moiety of the nucleohistone complex seems to remain unaffected by the protein shift during embryonic development. The implications of the protein shift in relation to the histone control of gene expression are discussed.

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