The Histochemical Journal

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 131–142 | Cite as

Application of 7-amino-actinomycin D for the fluorescence microscopical analysis of DNA in cells and polytene chromosomes

  • Natalia G. Stepanova
  • Sergei M. Nikitin
  • Flora S. Valeeva
  • Olga N. Kartasheva
  • Alexey L. Zhuze
  • Alexander V. Zelenin


The cytochemical properties of a guanine-specific synthetic fluorescent analogue of actinomycin D, 7-amino-actinomycin D, have been studied in fixed and living preparations of L cells and polytene chromosomes of salivary glands ofChironomus thummi thummi andDrosophila lummei (Hackman).

7-Amino-actinomycin D has been shown to bind to DNA-containing structures, thereby inducing in them a bright red fluorescence. No specific fluorescence has been found in RNA-containing structures treated with this fluorescent probe.

The fluorescence pattern of some regions of polytene chromosomes with a known nucleotide composition was analysed. It has been established that 7-amino-actinomycin D induces a very weak fluorescence in GC-poor chromosome regions of theDrosophila lummei toromere structure. Data indicating a nonlinear dependence between the fluorescence intensity of a stained chromosome region and the GC content in its DNA have been obtained. The influence of DNA nucleotide composition in a chromosome region on the fluorescence of 7-amino-actinomycin D is discussed. In combination with quinacrine staining and the Feulgen fluorescence reaction, treatment with 7-amino-actinomycin D provides useful information about the distribution of GC base pairs in the chromosome region under study.


Chromosome Region Actinomycin Polytene Chromosome Nucleotide Composition Quinacrine 
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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd. 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalia G. Stepanova
    • 1
  • Sergei M. Nikitin
    • 1
  • Flora S. Valeeva
    • 2
  • Olga N. Kartasheva
    • 1
  • Alexey L. Zhuze
    • 1
  • Alexander V. Zelenin
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Molecular BiologyUSSR Academy of SciencesMoscowUSSR
  2. 2.Institute of Cytology and GeneticsSiberian Branch of USSR Academy of SciencesNovosibirsk-90USSR

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