The degree of polarization of fluorescence from stretched Chironomus thummi polytene chromosomes, stained with low concentrations of acridine orange (AO), decreases with increasing temperature. The "half temperature" of this decrease (T½R) is lower than the expected DNA thermal denaturation temperature (Tm) by about 20°C. T½R is lowered as histone is removed from chromosomes. Balbiani ring regions of the fourth chromosome have T½R's much lower than other regions, and nearly as low as chromosomes which had been extensively pretreated with trypsin to remove histone and other proteins. Measurements of the thermal change in the rotational diffusion rate of AO in solution with DNA indicate that the temperature at which the DNA-AO bonding changes from a "rigid" to a "loose" mode varies with the GC percentage of the DNA, and in the same fashion as Tm, although 20°C lower.

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