Selective dissociation of histones from rat thymus chromatin resulted in a gradual loss of the specificity of DNA template restriction as shown by rate studies of the in vitro RNA synthesis and by DNA-RNA hybridization. Removal of the very lysine-rich histones F1 did not change the templating properties of chromatin. Dissociation of either the moderately lysine-rich histone F2b or the arginine-rich fractions F2a and F3 derepressed the DNA only partially. Even after the removal of practically all histones and of a part (approx. 20 %) of the nonhistone proteins, significant template restriction was retained in the treated chromatin.
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