RNA transcribed in isolated sea urchin nuclei and assayed by hybridization to histone genes cloned in E. coil contains sequences homologous to each of the five histone genes. Histone RNA is synthesized exclusively from the same DNA strand which is the template in vivo. Synthesis of the histone gene transcripts is sensitive to α-amanitin concentrations which inhibit RNA polymerase II activity. The fraction of histone RNA synthesized in vitro is comparable at two developmental stages to the fraction synthesized in vivo. The nuclear histone transcripts contain sequences homologous to spacer DNA regions present between the coding regions of the 6500 base pair (bp) histone gene repeat unit. The transcription of spacer sequences was demonstrated by hybridization of the nuclear transcripts to subcloned spacer DNA. Although the bulk of the RNA transcripts are >2000 bases long, the histone-specific transcripts are of discrete sizes ranging from 100 bases to about 1100 bases long. Each histone gene hybridizes with at least one of the larger transcripts and with a different subset of smaller RNAs. We do not detect any giant polycistronic transcript spanning the entire histone repeat unit.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)