1. The interaction of polyamines and methylglyoxal bis(guanythydrazone) (1, 1′-[(methylethanediylidene)-dinitrilo]diguanidine) with isolated rat liver nuclei was investigated by electron microscopy. 2. At 4mM, putrescine was without effect; however, spermidine, spermine or methylglyoxal bis(guanythydrazone) resulted in dispersed chromatin and alterations in nucleolar structure. In addition, spermidine or methylglyoxal bis(guanylhydrazone) caused marked aggregation of interchromatin granules. 3. The DNA template property of calf thymus DNA was examined by using DNA polymerases from Escherichia coli, Micrococcus lysodeikticus and calf thymus in the presence of 0-5 mM-amine. 4. In the presence of DNA polymerase, spermine or methylglyoxal bis(guanylhydrazone) inhibited activity, whereas putrescine or spermidine had much less effect or in some cases stimulated [3H]dTMP incorporation. 5. Template activity which was inhibited by spermine or methylglyoxal bis(guanylhydrazone) could be partially restored by additional DNA or enzyme. 6. When mixed with calf thymus DNA, calf thymus histone inhibited template activity as measured with E. coli DNA polymerase. The template activity of such a ‘histone-nucleate’ could not be restored by putrescine, spermidine, spermine or methylglyoxal bis(guanylhydrazone). 7. DNA template activity of isolated rat liver nuclei was tested by using E. coli DNA polymerase. None of the amines was able to increase the template activity of the nuclear DNA in vitro.

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