Studies of nuclear function in many organisms, especially those with tough cell walls, are limited by lack of availability of simple, economical methods for large-scale preparation of clean, undamaged nuclei.
Here we present a useful method for nuclear isolation from the important model organism, the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. To preserve in vivo molecular configurations, we flash-froze the yeast cells in liquid nitrogen. Then we broke their tough cell walls, without damaging their nuclei, by grinding in a precision-controlled motorized mortar-and-pestle apparatus. The cryo-ground cells were resuspended and thawed in a buffer designed to preserve nuclear morphology, and the nuclei were enriched by differential centrifugation. The washed nuclei were free from contaminating nucleases and have proven well-suited as starting material for genome-wide chromatin analysis and for preparation of fragile DNA replication intermediates.
We have developed a simple, reproducible, economical procedure for large-scale preparation of endogenous-nuclease-free, morphologically intact nuclei from fission yeast. With appropriate modifications, this procedure may well prove useful for isolation of nuclei from other organisms with, or without, tough cell walls.