High mobility group (HMG) nonhistone chromosomal proteins are a group of abundant, conservative and highly charged nuclear proteins whose physiological role in chromatin is still unknown. To gain insight into the interactions of HMG1 and HMG2 with the fundamental components of chromatin we have introduced the methodology of photochemical crosslinking. This technique has allowed us to study the interaction of HMG1 and HMG2 with the core histones, in the form of an H2A X H2B dimer and an (H3 X H4)2 tetramer, for an effective time of crosslinking of less than 1 ms and under very mild conditions. This is achieved by using flash photolysis. With this procedure we found that both HMG1 and HMG2 interact with H2A X H2B and also with (H3 X H4)2. In the second case, they seem to do this through histone H3. To obtain more information about the interactions, we split HMG1 and HMG2 into their peptides using staphylococcal proteinase. The peptides obtained, which reflect the domain distribution of these proteins, were then used along with the histone oligomers to elucidate their interactions by means of photochemical crosslinking. Results obtained indicate that the domain of HMG1 and HMG2 involved in the interaction with H2A X H2B histones is the highly acidic C-terminal, whereas the N-terminal is involved in the interactions with (H3 X H4)2 histones. In all cases, the interactions found appear appreciably strong. Along with other data published in the literature, these proteins appear to have at least one binding site per domain for the chromatin components.