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Abstract

The chromosomal proteins from chromatins of normal and background liver and spontaneous primary hepatocellular carcinomas (PHC) of C3H/HeN mice were examined by high resolution acid-urea and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) polyacryl-amide gel electrophoresis. Before gel analysis, the histone and non-histone chromosomal proteins (NHCP) from the various tissues studied were separated by affinity chromatography. No qualitative or quantitative differences in histone content were detected in any of the chromatins studied. Tumor and background chromatins did, however, exhibit higher NHCP content than normal tissues. When NHCP were fractionated on SDS polyacrylamide gels, the appearance of 10 new unique NHCP, many of which were of high molecular weight, was found to accompany the manifestation of malignancy in these C3H/HeN mice. Conversely, the abundance of a number of individual NHCP decreased precipitiously in PHC chromatin; and, additionally, two high-molecular-weight NHCP present in normal chromatins were not detectable in background and PHC chromatin. A number of NHCP were found to be unique to each of the chromatins studied. The progressive increase in total number of NHCP in background and PHC chromatin when compared to normal chromatin suggested that such changes in NHCP might indicate progression towards malignancy. The acquisition of new high-molecular-weight NHCP, the loss of some high-molecular-weight NHCP, and the decrease in individual NHCP found for mouse PHC correlate well with findings of previous studies in other systems in which malignant transformation was induced with some agent. It appears then that changes in NHCP accompany both spontaneous and induced malignant transformation, and that such changes may reflect alterations in gene expression known to accompany malignancy.