A specific fraction from the nuclei of the AKR mouse embryo cell-line (fraction I) displayed a much greater localization of radioactivity compared to fraction II and III when the chemical carcinogen, [3H]benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) was incubated with the cells for 24 h. The radioactivity in fraction I consisted of both covalently and non-covalently bound metabolites. Isolation of the DNA, RNA and protein of fraction I revealed that 94% of the covalently bound radioactivity was to protein, 5% to RNA and 1% to DNA. Analysis of the fraction I proteins by SDS gel electrophoresis revealed that there was more radioactivity covalently bound to the larger proteins than to smaller proteins. Isoelectric focusing (IEF) of the purified proteins displayed two peaks of radioactivity, one at a pH of 5 and the other at 11. The former proteins bound more radioactivity per mass of protein than the latter proteins. Analysis of fraction I histones on acid urea polyacrylamide gels showed that the radioactivity coincided with histones H3 and H2B and low levels of radioactivity associated with histones H1, H2A and H4. Two significant peaks of radioactivity closely migrated near but did not co-migrate with histone H1. The distribution of the bound radioactivity is probably a reflection of the availability of the proteins to the reactive carcinogen metabolites. The possible binding of B[a]P metabolites to phosphorylated histones and to the high mobility of group (HMG) proteins 1 and 2 is discussed.
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