A subnuclear fraction has been isolated from HeLa S3 nuclei after treatment with high salt buffer, deoxyribonuclease, and dithiothreitol. This fraction retains the approximate size and shape of nuclei and resembles the nuclear matrix recently isolated from rat liver nuclei. Ultrastructural and biochemical analyses indicate that this structure consists of nonmembranous elements as well as some membranous elements. Its chemical composition is 87% protein, 12% phospholipid, 1% DNA, and 0.1% RNA by weight. The protein constituents are resolved in SDS-polyacrylamide slab gels into 30-35 distinguishable bands in the apparent molecular weight range of 14,000 - 200,000 with major peptides at 14,000 - 18,000 and 45,000 - 75,000. Analysis of newly synthesized polypeptides by cylindrical gel electrophoresis reveals another cluster in the 90,000-130,000 molecular weight range. Infection with adenovirus results in an altered polypeptide profile. Additional polypeptides with apparent molecular weights of 21,000, 23,000, and 92,000 become major components by 22 h after infection. Concomitantly, some peptides in the 45,000-75,000 mol wt range become less prominent. In synchronized cells the relative staining capacity of the six bands in the 45,000-75,000 mol wt range changes during the cell cycle. Synthesis of at least some matrix polypeptides occures in all phases of the cell cycle, although there is decreased synthesis in late S/G2. In the absence of protein synthesis after cell division, at least some polypeptides in the 45,000-75,000 mol wt range survive nuclear dispersal and subsequent reformation during mitosis. The possible significance of this subnuclear structure with regard to structure-function relationships within the nucleus during virus replication and during the life cycle of the cell is discussed.

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