Changes in cell nuclei during S phase: progressive chromatin condensation and altered expression of the proliferation-associated nuclear proteins Ki-67, cyclin (PCNA), p105, and p34

Exp Cell Res. 1991 Sep;196(1):99-106. doi: 10.1016/0014-4827(91)90460-c.


Using multiparameter flow cytometry we have measured the nuclear DNA content of exponentially growing HL-60 cells in conjunction with protein content, nuclear forward light scatter, DNA in situ sensitivity to denaturation, DNA accessibility to 7-aminoactinomycin D (7-AMD), and content of the proliferation-associated proteins: cyclin (PCNA), p105, p34, and Ki-67. Multivariate analysis of the data made it possible to correlate changes in each parameter with the degree of cell advancement through S phase (amount of replicated DNA). A decrease of the protein/DNA ratio, lowered DNA accessibility to 7-AMD, increased sensitivity of DNA to denaturation, and increased ability of isolated nuclei to scatter light all paralleled cell progression through S phase. These changes indicate that during S phase chromatin progressively condenses and suggest that the condensation is associated with the efflux of nonhistone proteins from the nucleus. The increase in the content of the antigen detected by the Ki-67 antibody was observed to exceed the increase in DNA content during S phase and the rate of the Ki-67/DNA increase was higher during the second half of S phase. Thus, this protein appears to be primarily synthesized during S, especially late in S phase, and is degraded in G1. The ratio of cyclin (PCNA)/DNA remained rather constant whereas the contents of p105 and p34 proteins, when expressed per unit of DNA, both decreased during S phase. The data indicate that significant changes in structure and composition of chromatin take place during S phase and suggest that the composition of chromatin associated with the nonreplicated DNA is different compared to chromatin associated with the newly replicated DNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure*
  • Chromatin / physiology
  • Chromatin / ultrastructure*
  • Cyclins / genetics
  • Cyclins / metabolism*
  • Cyclins / physiology
  • DNA Replication / physiology
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • DNA, Neoplasm / ultrastructure*
  • Dactinomycin / analogs & derivatives
  • Dactinomycin / pharmacology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Leukemia, Experimental / metabolism
  • Leukemia, Experimental / pathology*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / metabolism
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / pathology*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology
  • S Phase*


  • Chromatin
  • Cyclins
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Dactinomycin
  • 7-aminoactinomycin D