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IFT, Immunofluorescence technique; CIE, Counterimmunoelectrophoresis; IBT, immunoblotting technique; PEG, polyethyleneglycol.

IFT, Immunofluorescence technique; CIE, Counterimmunoelectrophoresis; IBT, immunoblotting technique; PEG, polyethyleneglycol.

Nucleosome

Chromatin

Figure 1 Schematic drawing of chromatin and its subunit, the nucleosome.

stretch of linker DNA to which histone HI is bound. The four core histones are single-chain polypeptides with molecular weights ranging from 11 to 15 kDa. Clustered at the N-terminal regions of the core histones are basic residues, which, therefore, are located at the outside of the nucleosome. These positive charges on the cylindrical surface of the histone octa-mer form a left-handed spiral, situated along the DNA and are partly involved in the binding of DNA.

Small nuclear RNP (snRNP)

Eukaryotic cells contain a number of distinct small RNA molecules, which can be broadly divided into two classes: the capped small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs or U-RNAs) and the noncapped small cytoplasmic RNAs (scRNAs). Mammalian cells contain at least 14 different U-RNAs, organized into ribo-nucleoprotein particles (U-snRNPs; Figure 2). The

Figure 2 Schematic drawing of a U-snRNP particle. To the U1 -RNA molecule the proteins 70 kDa, A, C and those of the Sm complex are bound; the Sm complex encompasses the proteins BB', D1, D2, D3, E, F and G.

U1-U6 snRNPs, with the exception of U3 snRNP, have an important role in messenger RNA processing.

More than 25 different polypeptides have been identified as constituents of the major snRNPs Ul, U2, U5 and U4/U6. Of these proteins, nine are present in each of the individual snRNPs, and are designated as Sm or core proteins (Table 2). These include the BB' doublet, the D1/D2/D3 triplet and the E, F and G polypeptides. In addition to the core proteins, most of the snRNPs contain a number of unique polypeptides, designated 70 kDa protein, A and C (found in Ul snRNP only), A' and B" (found only in U2 snRNP).

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