A technique is presented which enables one to measure the extent to which a protein enters and accumulates in the nucleus of the frog oocyte. In this method, the protein, labeled with 125-I, is microinjected into the oocyte. After incubation, the oocyte is manually enucleated and the radioactivity in the nucleus and cytoplasm is determined. Using this technique, proteins lighter than 20,000 daltons were found to enter the nucleus and completely equilibrate between the nucleus and cytoplasm within 24 h. The entry of proteins heavier than 69,000 daltons was severely hindered. Histones and histone fractions entered as quickly as other small proteins, but, in contrast to these proteins, they accumulated in the nucleus to different extents, depending on the total amount of histone injected into the oocyte and the identity of the histone. Evidence is presented that histone fractions compete with each other for accumulation in the nucleus.

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