DNA isolated from mammalian cell nuclear reveals discrete size patterns when partially digested with micrococcal nuclease. The DNA repeat lengths from different tissues within a species or from different species may vary. These differences have been attributed to the presence of different species of histone H1. To examine the nature of regulation of DNA repeat lengths and their possible relationship to histone H1, we have selected several mouse and human cell lines that differ in their DNA repeat lengths and examined them and their cell hybrids. 24 mouse X human and five mouse X mouse hybrid cell lines were analyzed. All the interspecific hybrids exhibited the repeat pattern characteristic of the murine parent. The mouse intraspecific hybrids had a repeat pattern of only one of the parents. We conclude that the partial human chromosome complements retained in the hybrids assume the repeat lengths exhibited by the mouse cells. Because H1 histones have been implicated in the determination of DNA repeat lengths, we also investigated the regulation of H1 histone expression in these cell hybrids. Purified H1 histones were radioactively labeled in vitro, and individual subfractions were subjected to proteolysis followed by gel electrophoresis. The resulting partial peptide maps off H1 histone subfractions A and B were distinguishable from one another and from different cell lines. In the mouse X human hybrids analyzed, only the mouse H1 histones were detected. These observations were extended to H2b by analysis of the hybrid cell histone by Triton-acid-urea gels. Neither the DNA repeat length nor histone expression is affected by the presence of any specific human chromosome. The fact that human genes are expressed in these hybrids suggests that the H1 histones of one species is able to interact with the chromatin of another species in a biologically funtional conformation. Analysis of the intraspecific PG19 X B82 (mouse X mouse) hybrids reveals the presence of H1 histone subfractions of the B82 mouse cells. Because these hybrids exhibit the nucleosome repeat length only of the PG19 cells, it appears that if histone H1 plays a role in determining the repeat length it does so in consort with other nonhistone chromosomal proteins.

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