It has not previously been possible to label the nuclear protein modification poly(ADP-ribose) directly from NAD because of the impermeability of the cell membrane. We have overcome this important problem by micro-injection of radioactively labelled NAD into xenopus laevis early embryos. The polymer was identified and then quantified by its insensitivity to DNAase, RNAase, and spleen phosphodiesterase and by the chromatographic mobility of the products of digestion with snake-venom phosphodiesterase. The quantity of poly(ADP-ribose) present after 25 h of development (129 ng/mg DNA) is lower than that found in fully differentiated tissue.

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