Histone proteins were studied by microphotometry of plant tissue sections stained with fast green at pH 8.1. For comparative purposes the Feulgen reaction was used for deoxyribose nuclei acid (DNA); the Sakaguchi reaction for arginine; and the Millon reaction for estimates of total protein.
Analysis of Tradescantia tissues indicated that amounts of nuclear histone fell into approximate multiples of the gametic (egg or sperm) quantity except in dividing tissues, where amounts intermediate between multiples were found. In differentiated tissues of lily, corn, onion, and broad bean, histones occurred in constant amounts per nucleus, characteristic of the species, as was found also for DNA. Unlike the condition in several animal species, the basic proteins of sperm nuclei in these higher plants were of the histone type; no evidence of protamine was found.
In a plant neoplasm, crown gall of broad bean, behavior of the basic nuclear proteins closely paralleled that of DNA. Thus, alterations of DNA levels in tumor tissues were accompanied by quantitatively similar changes in histone levels to maintain the same Feulgen/fast green ratios found in homologous normal tissues.