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The RCC1 gene, a regulator for the onset of chromosome condensation was found to encode a protein with a molecular mass of 45 kD, determined using the antibody against the synthetic peptides prepared according to the amino acid sequence of the putative RCC1 protein. The p45 located in the nuclei was released from the isolated nuclei, either by DNase I digestion or by treatment with 0.3 M NaCl. Consistently, p45 bound to the DNA-cellulose column was eluted with 0.3 M NaCl. After sequential treatment with DNase I and 2 M NaCl, almost all of the RCC1 protein were released from the nuclei. Thus, RCC1 protein locates on the chromatin and is not a component of the nuclear matrix. In mitotic cells, p45 is dispersed into the cytoplasm. Presumably, RCC1 protein plays a role in regulating the onset of chromosome condensation, at the level of transcription or of mRNA maturation.